BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York Blue Fund has announced $575,000 in grants to support several major health-based projects across Western New York, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a profound impact on non-profit organizations. This grant cycle includes $100,000 in new Blue Fund micro grants to 75 organizations across the eight counties of Western New York, including Cattaraugus County.
The community-based, not-for-profit health insurer pivoted its traditional 2020 Blue Fund grant cycle to support the most critical and immediate community needs as a result of the pandemic. This included a $1 million donation to the WNY COVID-19 Response Fund, a $100,000 donation to Say Yes Buffalo to expand and enhance the organization’s Health Homes Care Coordination program, and a $25,000 contribution to help Project Play WNY distribute more than 12,000 PlayPacks to Buffalo Public School students.
In addition to awarding major grants to five local nonprofits, BlueCross BlueShield partnered with intermediary organizations in each county to help identify micro grant recipients for awards that will range from $500 to $2,500, totaling $100,000. Intermediary partners include Partnership for the Public Good in Erie County; United Way of Greater Niagara; Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation; United Way of Southern Chautauqua County; Allegany County Area Foundation; United Way of Orleans County; United Way of Wyoming County and United Way of Genesee County.
In Cattaraugus County, 13 organizations received micro grants, including:
- Allegany County Community Opportunities and Rural Development Inc. (ACCORD) - $1,500
- Catholic Charities of Buffalo - $700
- Connecting Communities in Action, Inc. - $600
- Great Valley Food Pantry - $500
- Harvest Field Ministries - $500
- Loaves & Fishes - $500
- Love INC Gowanda - $1,000
- Portville Community Food Pantry - $500
- Salvation Army - $500
- Saving Grace Outreach - $600
- The Master's Plan - $600
- Valley View Baptist Church Food Pantry - $1,000
- YMCA of the Twin Tiers - $1,500
Those grants together total $10,000, bringing the total of COVID-19 Response aid in Cattaraugus County facilitated by CRCF and its philanthropic partners to over $169,000.
In total, BlueCross BlueShield Blue Fund invested $1.7 million into the community in 2020.
“BlueCross BlueShield has a long-standing history of supporting organizations dedicated to improving the lives of individuals in all eight counties of Western New York,” said David W. Anderson, President and CEO, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “We’ll continue to pivot our Blue Fund grants to ensure we’re supporting the greatest needs in every corner of the region.”
BlueCross BlueShield launched the Blue Fund in July 2018, to support organizations and initiatives that work collaboratively to address key health areas and demonstrate enhanced measurable outcomes for the community. This cycle of grants, which are generated from the company’s investment reserves, not members’ premiums, brings the health plan’s total community investment through Blue Fund to $6.9 million.
Below are the recipients of the 2020 Blue Fund Grants:
Back to Basics Outreach Ministries, Inc. $50,000
Purpose: To support the Buffalo Peacemakers HEAT Program (Health, Empowerment, Altitude, and Teamwork), which will improve physical and mental health in the vulnerable, hard-to-reach population of at-risk minority youth by building habits of physical activity, healthy eating, and attaining positive goals.
Buffalo Center for Health Equity $125,000
Purpose: To support improving community health through healthy eating. The program aims to shift the health curve of pre-diabetics and early diabetics through a dietary intervention that will transform the eating habits of the participants and their families living in Buffalo’s least-healthiest ZIP codes.
Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network $100,000
Purpose: To support Healthy Families Buffalo, an evidence-based voluntary home-visiting model, designed to provide services to families that begins prenatally or at birth and continues through age five.
Harmonia Collaborative Care $100,000
Purpose: To support TeleMental Health Services, which assesses community needs, identifies partners and collaborators, and initiates a program that increases access to mental health and telemental health services for rural and Native Americans ages 13 and up.
YMCA Buffalo Niagara $100,000
Purpose: To support “Y on the Fly,” a mobile YMCA that delivers fun physical fitness activities, enrichment experiences, including STEM and literacy, and nutritious meals to families living in neighborhoods where food insecurity and a lack of youth development and wellness resources are most prevalent. This year-round program will be offered at indoor and outdoor sites in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Lackawanna.
To learn more about Blue Fund, visit www.bcbswny.com/bluefund.