Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Offers 65 Community Health Awards to Area Nonprofits

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield today announced a total of 65 community health awards to nonprofit organizations in Upstate New York, including 13 in the Rochester area. Community Health Fellowship funding will support innovative programs and solutions to advance health equity and ultimately improve health outcomes for underserved segments of communities served by the health plan.

Through a competitive application process, the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Awards will provide more than $260,000 in funding to initiate, expand and sustain programs and services that promote health. These investments will also advance health equity by extending the reach of preventive health services or health promotion programs to vulnerable populations.

“Providing access to high-quality health care to people who need it is central to our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” says Gina Cuyler, MD FACP, Vice President of Equity health and community investments. “This critical community health funding will allow our community organizations to continue to address and remove barriers that impact economic stability, address the social determinants of health, and strengthen overall health improvement programs. community health.

The 13 Rochester-area nonprofits chosen to receive the Excellus BCBS Awards for Community Health include:

  • 540WMain, Inc., Kaboom! Sensory garden project: Kaboom! enables the creation of urban play spaces with a focus on neighborhoods that may not have access to equitable opportunities to play. The funding will help transform an empty lot in the city’s 19th Arrondissement neighborhood into an accessible play space and sensory garden. Community Resources has determined this to be a high-needs area, where nearly half of the local student population has special needs or disabilities.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Geneva Inc., First 1,000 Day Promise: The initiative helps all families of babies born within the Geneva community with nutrition, health, early childhood education and exercise support during the first 1,000 days of a newborn’s life. born. Inadequate nutrition and early childhood conditions impact many children’s readiness to learn and behave when they enter kindergarten. The award will support weekly groceries, diapers, formula, daily access to the toddler gym, life coaching, and help with accessing items that can enhance life during those early delicate months.
  • Cameron Community Ministries, Cameron Crops: Thirty percent of children and families in very poor neighborhoods in Rochester, such as the community of Cameron, face food insecurity. Research shows that school gardening programs have had a positive effect on children’s vegetable preference and consumption. The funding will support up to 50 children and teens from Cameron’s programs who will participate in a year-long, hands-on hydroponic gardening program with the goal of increasing their knowledge and consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits. The participants will lead all aspects of the project: helping to set up the gardens, choosing, planting and tending the crops, planning the tastings and the distribution.
  • Community Resource Collaborative, Inc., Print Lives: Funding from the award will support the Imprinting Lives program which provides adult mentoring support to young men aged 14-25 who have been affected or are at risk of being affected by violence from domestic violence, interpersonal violence or gang violence. The program provides a safe space to share grief, concerns and work towards a life away from violence by creating better habits and a positive lifestyle. The mentor is a lived experience expert, who has personally experienced changes in behaviors, choices and habits not only to maintain but also to advance career and educational goals and move away from violence.
  • Ontario County Family Promise, Inc., Healthy Families Prevention Program: Lack of access to transportation, internet/technology, or stable housing in rural areas prevents many families from accessing timely medical or behavioral health care. Funding from the scholarship will support case management services for families awaiting program support so that medical and behavioral health issues can be resolved as soon as possible. Program participants will have access to telehealth and counseling services, transportation to and from appointments, and pharmacies for medications and medical supplies. Families at risk of homelessness can receive assistance in the form of food, job training, sustainable housing and childcare.
  • Food Justice of Geneva, NY Inc., Gleaning food justice: Funding will support Food Justice of Geneva’s volunteer-run food picking organization, which collects fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables from local growers and agricultural fields that would otherwise be discarded, diverts them from landfills and distributes them for free. to the most needy members of the communities of the City of Geneva and the county of Ontario.
  • Golisano Autism Center, Autism Peer Navigator Support: Funding will be used to support an autism peer navigator to assist those seeking support from AMC. The peer navigator, who is an autistic person, has a unique view of the autistic experience. An autistic role model will demonstrate, especially to teenagers struggling with their diagnosis, that autism is not always a barrier to a meaningful and successful life. The Navigator will be responsible for relationships, engagement, education and community outreach efforts to expand and improve autism support services, awareness and access.
  • Wayne County Literacy Volunteers, Youth Mental Health First Aid: Funding will support expansion of Wayne County Community Schools Mental Health Training Program to train more first responders, nonprofit service providers, educators and public school employees as part of the Youth Mental Health First Aid program. Through a series of workshops, Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach adults who interact with young people on a regular basis how to help teens experiencing mental health issues, addictions or who are in crisis and connect them with help.
  • MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, Community Conflict De-escalation Project: The funding will support a series of workshops with trainers to teach violence de-escalation techniques to a cohort of people who may be at risk of violence, including women in local shelters, people returning from prison and people committed to creating grassroots change, such as youth workers.
  • Rochester Spine Association, Bullet Survivor – Cultural Competency: This program helps meet the needs and improve the quality of life of people living with a spinal cord disability. Gunshot wound survivors may lack the health knowledge necessary to use the complicated information regarding spinal cord injury provided by medical professionals who may be unaware of cultural issues that may affect treatment. . To help bridge this gap, scholarship funding will be used to expand continuing education for health providers to help reduce cultural disconnects; and deploying peer mentors to help those coping with their injuries better understand medical information critical to recovery.
  • The Legal Aid Society of Rochester, NY, Immigrant Health and Wellness Project: The funding will support the Legal Aid Society of Rochester’s Health Care and Benefits Navigator, whose sole purpose is to help immigrants and refugees access health care, government benefits and assistance. other community organizations. The Navigator helps immigrants and refugees normalize their immigration status while accessing essentials such as housing, food and health services.
  • TRU-Impact Inc., Youth-led coalition: The funding will support a youth-led coalition of college students aged 11-22 to raise awareness and educate their peers about the dangers of drug use, substance use disorders and promote preventative measures. By partnering with local schools and agencies, participating youth will create awareness campaigns targeting students and families in the city’s 14605, 14609 and 14621 zip codes. Participation in the program offers students the opportunity to succeed in their studies, experience their culture, and benefit from tutoring and mentoring services.
  • Villa of Hope, Hope Place Emergency Psychiatric Service Hijacked: Hope Place uses a non-clinical ‘living room’ model of care to provide a safe environment for adults who are experiencing or approaching a mental health crisis, with the goal of defusing the crisis and providing an alternative to the ward. emergency. Fellowship funding will support outreach to increase the number of people served, supplies to support people in crisis, mental health support to avoid emergency department visits, and connect people served with healthcare providers. appropriate.

Health Plan’s corporate giving complies with all applicable laws and regulations and does not support fundraising organizations that conflict with its mission, goals, policies, or products.

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