Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Accepting Applications for 2017 Community Health Grant Program

(7.11.2016)
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Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is now accepting applications for its 2017 BlueAngel Community Health Grant (BACHG) program. This annual program grants funds to nonprofit organizations working to address critical health issues in Rhode Island, and in particular the continuing challenge of childhood obesity. In the last full year of funding alone, BCBSRI’s support directly impacted more than 6,000 Ocean State residents including more than 4,600 children.

The BACHG program has impacted nearly 40,000 Rhode Islanders since establishing a dedicated focus on the issue of childhood obesity in 2014. This impact was accomplished by awarding funds to organizations that seek to improve the health and wellness of children through a variety of programs offering nutrition education, physical activity, disease prevention and management, and support of safe play environments.

“In our work to create stronger, healthier communities, we know there is no more meaningful place to focus than on our children,” said Carolyn Belisle, Managing Director, Community Relations at BCBSRI. “Blue Cross is fortunate to partner with organizations that have the expertise and commitment to improve the health and wellness of the next generation.”

Past grant recipients include:

·       Beat the Streets Providence. The BACHG grant launched the inaugural “Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthy Champions” program, using wrestling as a foundation for teaching healthy habits and providing emotional supports to middle school students in underserved neighborhoods. Through wrestling, Beat the Streets provides at-risk youth with lessons on the mat, support in the classroom, and strong mentors to guide them towards long term success. The program offers weeknight and weekend fitness training for 100 young people at the Davey Lopes Recreation Center.

·       Farm Fresh Rhode Island. The BACHG enhanced the Healthy Foods, Healthy Families program, which empowers low-income Rhode Island families with the tools to shop for and cook affordable fresh foods through a series of hands-on activities, offered in English and Spanish, at the farmers market. Healthy Foods, Healthy Families staff engage families while providing free samples, games, recipes, financial incentives, and giveaways. The BACHG helps support Farm Fresh Rhode Island in reaching a proposed 2,100 children and their families, with a focus on families receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

·       South County Food, Fitness + Fun. The BACHG is building out South County Food, Fitness + Fun’s successful intervention program that provides overweight and obese young people and their families with fitness and nutritional counseling in a fun and friendly environment. The program, offered through South County Hospital, supports children between the ages of 6 and10 years old. As a 16-week program, South County Food, Fitness + Fun engages overweight and obese children and their parents in hands-on lessons and discussions about nutrition and fitness. The families work closely with pediatricians, nutritionists and fitness specialists to learn how to eat healthily and become physically active as part of their daily routine.

BCBSRI will consider Rhode Island organizations that work to increase access to safe places to be active, assist youth-serving programs increase children’s physical activity levels, and support local community-based organizations that provide education and outreach on the importance of good nutrition, physical activity, and healthy weight for children and their families.

To qualify for a grant, an organization must have tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status. Applicants can access eligibility requirements, grant program information, frequently asked questions, and the online letter of intent (LOI) form by visiting BCBSRI.com/about-us/community. Organizations must submit their LOI online submission by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 5. Favored applicants will be those that provide innovative programs, prevention initiatives, and/or collaborations with one or more agencies working together.

BCBSRI accepts and reviews proposals for the BACHG program once a year. Each LOI received is reviewed to determine compliance with eligibility and funding priorities. BCBSRI will notify the selected applicants and invite submission of a full proposal approximately 30 days before the deadline. Grant award recipients are notified in December with funding to begin in January 2017.

About the BACHG Program

The BACHG program was launched in 2002 and since then has invested more than $3 million into quality programs that have touched the lives of more than 257,000 people in the state. The program is a key component in BCBSRI’s vision of enhancing the quality of life for Rhode Islanders by increasing the quality of and access to healthcare services. The BACHGs are made possible by the BCBSRI Community Health Fund, a corporate donor-advised fund of The Rhode Island Foundation.

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