Blue Cross created the foundation in 1986 to serve as a catalyst for innovative solutions to the state's health challenges. We've pursued this goal through grantmaking, partnerships and targeted initiatives, awarding nearly $30 million since 1986 and becoming the state's largest grantmaking foundation to dedicate its assets exclusively to improving health in Minnesota.
Our Early Years: Responsive Grantmaking
During our first 10 years, beginning in 1986, the Foundation awarded grants in support of our original mission, "to advance public health and the art and science of health care in communities served by Blue Cross." Grants funded a variety of nonprofit organizations and their projects across the state. The annual grantmaking for the first years averaged $200,000 to $500,000.
Our Second Decade: Grantmaking Priorities Established
To create a focus and increase our impact, in 1997 the foundation board established four grantmaking priorities:
To reduce tobacco use by helping communities take action to prevent youth tobacco use
To increase childhood immunization rates
To reduce health risks by promoting physical activity, nutrition and safety
To help people with chronic illness and unique cultural needs navigate the health care system
Between 1998 and 2003, we awarded more than 150 grants for programs that supported these priorities.
Growing Up Healthy in Minnesota
Growing Up Healthy in Minnesota was a $1.4 million, four-year, statewide initiative that began 2002. It increased preventive medical and dental care for children, especially those from minority communities.
Critical Links was a philanthropic response by the foundation to improve health care cultural competence and address ethnic and racial health disparities in Minnesota. As a companion to our Growing Up Healthy in Minnesota grantmaking initiative, the Critical Links program unfolded over a decade. Through our Critical Links community health workers (CHWs) initiative, the Blue Cross Foundation has served as a catalyst to promote the use of CHWs as a strategy for improving health care cultural competence, increasing the size and diversity of Minnesota's health care workforce and reducing health disparities by race, ethnicity and foreign-born status.
New Times, New Tools
This two-year funding iniative provided one-year grants of up to $10,000 grants per organization. Forty organizations — community clinics and mental health centers, emergency medical programs, small hospitals, hospices and parish nursing programs — received a total of $400,000.
Resilient Organizations Fund
Resilient Organizations Fund grants provided funds to help strengthen the long-term sustainability of current Blue Cross Foundation grantees.
Our Current Focus: Strategic Grantmaking with Upstream Focus
Our current initiatives help improve the social, economic and environmental conditions, which are often beyond the control of the individual, that have an impact on health, such as housing, the environment, early childhood development and social connectedness.
IN THIS SECTION
- Healthy Children
- Access to Coverage
- Healthy Neighborhoods
- Health Equity
- Early Learnings
- Our Early Years: Responsive Grantmaking
- Our Second Decade: Grantmaking Priorities Established
- Growing Up Healthy in Minnesota
- Critical Links
- New Times, New Tools
- Healthy Together
- Resilient Organizations Fund
- Our Current Focus: Strategic Grantmaking with Upstream Focus
- Leadership Recognition