$2 Million and Over a Decade Later, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Still Dedicated to Supporting Local Nonprofits



Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) will donate a total of $235,000 to 10 local nonprofits through its 2013 BlueAngel Community Health Grant (BACHG) program. The 10 organizations will each receive between $15,000 and $30,000 to help improve quality and access to care for Rhode Island’s uninsured and under-insured populations.
“The BlueAngel Community Health Grant program forms the foundation of our charitable giving efforts at BCBSRI,” said Peter Andruszkiewicz, president and CEO for BCBSRI. “The nonprofits we’re supporting through our grant program are doing great things in their communities, from educating children about nutrition to providing mental health services to vulnerable populations. BCBSRI is committed to helping improve the health of Rhode Islanders, and through the BlueAngel grant program we can help eliminate barriers that prevent individuals from receiving quality care, making Rhode Island a healthier place to live.”
“The funding we received from BCBSRI’s BlueAngel Community Health Grant is essential in helping us advance the goals of our breast-feeding program,” said David Caprio, president and CEO for Children’s Friend. “Research shows that breast-feeding provides multiple benefits for infants, such as receiving essential nutrients and offering protection from disease and illness. With BCBSRI’s support, we will be able to outreach to low-income new mothers and provide them with supplies that they would otherwise not be able to afford.” 
The following six organizations will receive a combined $150,000 in BACHG funding in 2013:
  • Amos House will receive $30,000 for its Psychiatric Services Program for 90-day program residents. Amos House helps men and women who have been homeless and who struggle with addiction and other related disorders. The funding will provide mental health services on-site, which will eliminate the transportation barrier that could interfere with clients receiving psychiatric care. Approximately 200 previously homeless and currently uninsured individuals will be directly impacted through this program. 
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center (MLKCC) will receive $25,000 for its Nutrition Education at MLKCC program. The funding will enable MLKCC to expand its programming to better meet its clients’ needs and increase its after school program from one day each week to two, incorporating trips to the local farmers markets to educate clients about nutrition. MLKCC anticipates that the funding will benefit 1,300 of its clients directly, 44 percent of whom are uninsured.
  • Farm Fresh Rhode Island will receive $25,000 for its Healthy Foods, Healthy Families (HFHF) program. HFHF will take place at seven outdoor farmers markets in five economically disadvantaged Rhode Island cities where a significant percentage of children live in poverty. The program offers a bilingual curriculum of nutrition and local food education through interactive and fun activities for both parents and children. All local families are encouraged to join the program, but special outreach will be geared towards WIC and SNAP benefit recipient families. 
  • Progreso Latino will receive $25,000 for its BlueAngel Improve Your Health (Mejora tu Salud) Program which targets low-income and immigrant families in the Blackstone Valley region. The program is intended to eliminate health disparities between Latinos and the general public by providing participants with the resources, skills, and support they need to lead healthier lives. BACHG funding will help provide free health screenings, one-on-one support, and culturally competent health education. The program is intended to assist 500 clients, 87 percent of whom are uninsured.
  • The Providence Center (TPC) will receive $25,000 for its Health Connection Program which provides a continuum of physical and behavioral care to patients with mental illness. TPC will coordinate with the Providence Community Health Center (PCHC) to integrate a patient’s mental and physical health and provide an individualized approach to care. It is expected that the Health Connection Program will benefit 1,200 clients, 30 percent of whom are uninsured. 
  • Children’s Friend will receive $20,000 in order to support the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding in low-income women. Children’s Friend offers breastfeeding classes, support groups, and one-on-one breastfeeding support to their WIC program members. BACHG funding will enable Children’s Friend to buy supplies for the women in these programs to help aid them in their efforts toward breastfeeding, such as well-fitted and supportive nursing bras, lanolin cream, and nursing pads. WIC participants cannot otherwise afford these items.
Additionally, the following four organizations will receive a combined total of $85,000 in their second year of funding from BCBSRI’s two-year grant program:
  • Community Health Innovations of Rhode Island (CHI-RI) will receive $20,000 to continue their efforts to train Community Health Workers (CHWs) to identify and prioritize health needs and disparities at two sites: the Southeast Asian Economic Development Center and Mount Hope Learning Center. In 2012, nine CHWs were trained and went on to hold community meetings, where they surveyed community members to assess the strengths and weaknesses of community health. In 2013, the organization plans to use the survey results to take action and empower communities to become healthier.
  • Environmental Justice League Rhode Island (EJLRI) will receive $15,000 for their ECO Youth Multimedia Community Educators Food Justice Project. This project builds on the success of the Healthy Corner Store Initiative (currently being undertaken in low-income areas of Providence that do not have easy access to large grocery stores with healthy food options) with a year-round after-school program called ECO Youth. In 2012, EJLRI launched a grassroots movement called SWAG snacks, which promotes healthy eating through social media and a video contest. In 2013, the organization will expand this program to begin a summer component where youth will distribute healthy snacks to recreation centers, pools, and parks to promote healthy eating.
  • Ready to Learn Providence (R2LP) will receive $25,000 to continue the expansion of their “Healthy Futures” AmeriCorps program to ensure that children can achieve the health milestones needed to arrive at school ready to learn. To help reduce health disparities, this model engages families that have been isolated from traditional outreach efforts that connect health and school readiness. In 2012, AmeriCorps participants outreached to 7,206 children and parents through three local healthcare organizations. This year, the organization has added an additional member to the team and plans to replicate the program’s success from 2012. 
  • Wood River Health Services (WRHS) will receive $25,000 to engage and educate low- and moderate-income residents of southern Rhode Island on the availability of affordable medical, dental, and social services care. WRHS provides a full range of medical, dental, and social services to the community, regardless of ability to pay. In 2012, the organization was able to secure a full-time Nurse Case Manager to preform outreach to patients on proper emergency room use as well as management of long-term illnesses, such as diabetes. In 2013, WRHS looks forward to further improving their patients’ health and educating them about how to navigate and properly use the healthcare system.
The BACHG program is the cornerstone of BCBSRI’s charitable giving program. Since its inception in 2002, BCBSRI has donated more than $2.1 million dollars to support Rhode Island nonprofit organizations providing health programs that expand access to care for thousands of uninsured and under-insured Rhode Islanders. Since the BACHG program’s launch, more than 215,000 people have been helped by the funded programs.
BlueAngel Community Health Grants are made possible by the BCBSRI Community Health Fund and The Rhode Island Foundation.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state’s leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit www.bcbsri.com and follow us on Twitter @BCBSRI.
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