Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Grants $500K to 5 Nonprofits Addressing SDOH

Samara Rosenfeld
NOVEMBER 22, 2019
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Five nonprofits will receive an investment of $500,000 from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts as part of its Health Living Accelerator Grants initiative, the health plan announced yesterday on National Rural Health Day.

The grants will help the nonprofits address social determinants of health (SDOH), including healthy eating, active lifestyles and positive environments, to influence behavior change and advance the health of Massachusetts residents. Funding could help scale the programs to improve access to nutritious meals and fitness opportunities.

“The goal of the Health Living Accelerator Grants is to support innovative ideas that address the barriers which prevent access to healthy lifestyles and environments,” said Jeff Bellows, vice president of corporate citizenship and public affairs.

The five nonprofits are:
  1. Food for Free: This program takes prepared food from dining services and turn it into balanced, single-serving meals to reach 1,000 to 2,000 food-insecure students.
  2. YMCA Old Colony: Using a mobile van, the program brings YMCA’s traditional opportunities for learning, physical activity and health eating to communities where there is limited access to safe recreation.
  3. East Boston Airproofing: The program is creating a model to improve air quality and raise awareness about the impacts of pollutants.
  4. Collaborative for Educational Services: The model brings product from local farms to communities with limited access to grocery stores.
  5. MA Farm to School: Addressing the issue of child hunger and healthy food access, a school breakfast model will provide students with scratch-cooked meals.

Blue Cross will also provide skill-building and pro-bono support to help the organizations be successful with their initiatives.

“Blue Cross is committed to supporting the health of all Massachusetts residents,” Bellows said. “By giving these organizations the ability to launch and scale their programs and giving them the needed support to execute them, we can help improve access to health eating, active lifestyles and healthy environments for thousands of children and families across the state.”

The announcement further backs Blue Cross Blue Shield’s focus on population health and addressing SDOH.

Initiatives like FoodQ and RideQ provide meals and transportation to nutrition and transportation deserts. And other pilots from Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey aim to improve access to behavioral healthcare for patients in populations who have difficulty reaching these services.

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