Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Celebrate 20 Years of Grants with $740,000 in Housing-related Health Equity Grants

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island caps 20 years of community grants with $740,000 for organizations addressing health inequities tied to housing

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) awarded $740,000 in 2023 — $335,000 in grants to five organizations that improve access to safe, stable, and affordable housing throughout Rhode Island and $405,000 for successful 2022 grantees working on housing-related health inequities. Funding for these organizations comes from BCBSRI’s cornerstone grant program, BlueAngel Community Health Grants, which celebrated its 20th year in 2022.

BCBSRI’s philanthropic focus on housing is guided by responses to the annual RI Life Index, a statewide survey of Rhode Islanders administered by the Brown University School of Public Health in partnership with BCBSRI. The RI Life Index has consistently shown that access to safe, stable affordable housing is a top concern for Rhode Islanders in nearly every community. In fact, the 2022 score for affordable housing worsened – dropping from 40 to 33 on a scale of 100 – amid high inflation, high interest rates, and high prices and rents.

The 2023 awards extend BCBSRI’s investments in affordable housing to a fourth year, totaling $2.1 million since establishing housing as the sole funding focus in 2019. In total, since the BACHG program’s inception in 2002, BCBSRI has donated more than $6 million to local organizations, funding critical work that has impacted the lives of more than 333,000 Rhode Islanders. 

Grantees were Adoption Rhode Island, South County Habitat for Humanity, Jonnycake Center for Hope, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, Westbay Community Action, Inc.

Another $405,000 in grants were awarded to 2022 grant recipients who applied for an additional year of funding. Recipients included DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality), Housing Network of Rhode Island, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, ONE Neighborhood Builders, Pawtucket Central Falls Development, and Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness. Grant recipients can apply for transitional funding when successful performance outcomes have been achieved in the first year.

Blue Angel funding is made available through the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Community Health Fund maintained at the Rhode Island Foundation.  More information about the BACHG program is available at bcbsri.com/about/blueangel.

Point32Health Provides $700,000 to New England Food Banks; Giving Tuesday Contributions Total Over $800,000

Point32Health Foundation announced today grants totaling $700,000 to seven food banks in New England. Each organization will receive $100,000 to increase capacity to respond to the growing community need for emergency food support.

These investments support general operations, including staff salaries, the purchase of fresh and non-perishable food, and fuel costs for distribution. Funds also will go to advocacy efforts that promote system and policy changes addressing root causes of hunger, and aligned with the new National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.

The Rhode Island Community Food Bank received a grant of $100,000.

On Giving Tuesday,  Point32Health Board and colleague donations to nonprofit organizations were nearly $300,000. With the double match from the Foundation, a total of more than $800,000 will be distributed to community organizations advancing their mission of healthier lives for everyone.

The team also organized on-site and remote service activities for colleagues. Overall, colleagues packed 198 hygiene kits and wrote 200 well-wish notes for Heading Home and Services for the Elderly of Farmington; crafted 18 fleece blankets with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley to support people experiencing homelessness; painted murals with Foundation for Hospital Art to soften hospital environments; and created cards for children served by Cradles to Crayons. In all, 80 colleagues volunteered their time on #GivingTuesday.

Point32Health colleagues also donated more than $12,000 in gifts and essentials during the company’s annual Wish Drive.

Goods will go to people experiencing economic uncertainty across the region through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine, Casa Project Worcester, the New England Center and Home for Veterans, Webster House, and the Pawtucket YMCA.

 

Blue Cross Invests $1.5 Million to Support Expanded 2-1-1

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Commits $1.5 Million to Expand Impact of 211, Improve Social Determinants of Health 

As part of an effort to improve the health of all Rhode Islanders, United Way of Rhode Island has upgraded the capabilities of its 211 service with a focus on linking health and social care providers around individuals with complex needs. In support of this work to expand the statewide role and impact of 211, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has committed $1.5 million in funding.

A major enhancement to 211 is the addition of a specialized technology platform called Unite Us that interconnects a network of health and social care providers. Now, when someone calls 211 for help or lets a healthcare provider know they are in need of food, housing, or other assistance, their information is entered into the platform and an electronic referral is made for the services they need. The referrals are tracked within the system and 211 staff ensure that individuals’ needs are being responded to in a timely fashion.

Currently, when healthcare organizations refer patients to community-based organizations to address social care needs, there is rarely a mechanism for the healthcare organization to know the outcome of the referral. This prevents effective follow-up and outcome measurement.

With social factors being such a significant driver of a person’s overall health, knowing the outcome of these referrals is foundational to providers’ ability to effectively meet their patients’ unique needs and manage whole-person health.

Powered by the Unite Us platform and 211 staff, health providers across the network can securely refer and track every person’s total health journey with their community partners. At the same time, it allows providers to report on all tangible outcomes across a range of services in a centralized, cohesive, and collaborative ecosystem. 211 plays the role of the coordination center in the network, ensuring clients are connected to the best program to address their needs, providers are closing the loop on clients’ needs, and that all providers are meeting network standards and performance measures.

Hurricane Relief Efforts — Florida and Puerto Rico

There are many ways to support those who have been affected by the devastation of Hurricane Fiona and Hurricane Ian.

FLORIDA RELIEF EFFORTS

As the work continues to assess damage and needs, United Way Worldwide will update funds accordingly on Online.UnitedWay.org and UnitedWWay.org.

Additionally, because of the intense and far-reaching impact of this storm, to support communities in Florida and other areas affected by Hurricane Ian, United Way Worldwide has created the United Way Disaster Response and Recovery Fund.  As part of United Way’s collective mission to build stronger, resilient, and equitable communities, United Ways in affected areas will continue to raise money locally and respond to emerging needs as appropriate for their community.  The national fund will absolutely complement those efforts and provide a single clearinghouse for individual and corporate donors who want to support all affected areas.

This fund will help local United Ways meet immediate storm-related needs and support long-term recovery throughout the affected regions.  It would also allow donors to designate their funds to local United Ways.  We’ll be working with United Way leaders in the affected areas to determine the best distribution plan.

Other Florida Efforts (Shared by Florida Philanthropy Network (FPN))

FPN has compiled an initial repository of resources for foundations and non-profits. You can access all accumulated resources by visiting our resource page – FPN Hurricane Ian Resource Page

PUERTO RICO RELIEF EFFORTS

The Boston Foundation and the Latino Equity Fund has a list of organizations working on the ground in Puerto Rico that you can choose to support.

(Shared by Grantmakers in the Arts and Philatropia Puerto Rico)

Hasbro Establishes the Brian Goldner Center for Transforming Futures

$2.5 Million Contribution by the Hasbro Foundation awarded to three nonprofit organizations: Year UpGhetto Film School and Angel Flight Northeast in Honor of Former Hasbro Chairman and CEO Brian D. Goldner

Hasbro announced the launch of the Brian Goldner Center for Transforming Futures to honor the life and legacy of Hasbro’s longtime Chairman and CEO Brian D. Goldner, who passed away one year ago in October.

The Center, funded by a $2.5 million contribution from the Hasbro Foundation, will provide multi-year social impact investments with a singular mission of transforming and uplifting lives.

Brian Goldner was a visionary for play, entertainment and storytelling, and he also championed Hasbro’s business as a force for good. During Goldner’s tenure leading Hasbro, he expanded the company beyond toys and games into entertainment, digital gaming and more – building essential touchpoints with Hasbro’s fans worldwide. He was particularly passionate about lifting others up through mentorship and opportunity and improving systems of care for vulnerable members of society.

Grants made by the Hasbro Foundation focus on its philanthropic mission to empower generations of storytellers, create sustainable impact and spark joy through play.

The Center’s investments will support three nonprofit organizations benefitting causes that were greatly significant to Goldner, including:

  • The Brian Goldner Student Support Fund with Year Up, which provides young adults (ages 18-29) with job training and corporate internships to connect them with meaningful careers. Year Up works to close the Opportunity Divide for thousands of young adults across the United States. The Brian Goldner Student Support Fund will play a crucial role in aiding Year Up students who need emergency assistance with medical bills, rent, car repairs and other expenses, to ensure they can remain enrolled in the program. The Hasbro Foundation will make multiyear gifts to the Student Support Fund, the Year Up Endowment and the Brian Goldner Alumni Community Impact Award, an annual recognition for an outstanding Year Up graduate.
  • The Brian Goldner Storytelling Fellowship at the Ghetto Film School, which provides underrepresented artists in Los Angeles, New York and London the opportunity to enter the film industry through a 30-month visual storytelling course. Inspired by Goldner’s passion for film and entertainment, funding will support underserved young artists, particularly female artists, to participate in the program and pursue a career in entertainment. The Hasbro Foundation investment will provide annual Fellowships, support employee engagement opportunities at Hasbro, and establish an endowment through the California Community Foundation to ensure Brian’s legacy lives on for future generations.
  • The Brian Goldner Flights of Hope with Angel Flight Northeast, which provides free air and ground transportation for children and adults to receive lifesaving medical treatment across the United States. The Hasbro Foundation will provide annual support for five years to Angel Flight Northeast, flying patients in Goldner’s honor.

To learn more about the Hasbro Foundation and the Brian Goldner Center, visit: https://globalphilanthropy.hasbro.com/en-us/brian-goldner-center.

Point32Health Grants $500,000 in Community Priority Areas

Point32Health Foundation announced 10 new grants to support priorities identified by communities across New England. The grants improve access to healthy food and advance healthy aging in places where disinvestment, systemic racism, and barriers to access have prevailed.  Grants total $505,000.Grants support both general operations, giving nonprofit organizations flexibility in allocating resources, and ideas generated by nonprofits to address specific community needs. These funds will go to organizations in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.  The Rhode Island recipient was RIALA Senior Living Institute, which received a grant to make Rhode Island’s assisted living facilities more welcoming and supportive, especially for older LGBTQIA+ adults.

Schott Foundation for Public Education Grants over $500,000 in Support of Public Schools

Between April and June, the Schott Foundation for Public Education awarded $589,710 across ten grantees to support parent, youth, and community organizations working to defend and improve public schools and fight for race and gender justice in their communities — more than $1.5 million in 2022 so far. Schott grants this quarter have gone to longtime Schott partners like the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools and One Voice, as well as newer grantees like Village of Wisdom and Being Black in the Burbs.

Several of the grants this quarter were made as part of the multi-partner Invest Together Fund – which is a national organizing effort to defend public education locally with NYU Metro Center and Race Forward’s H.E.A.L. Together Initiative.

More information

van Beuren Charitable Foundation and BankNewport Support Housing Study

Two GCRI members have provided funding to Connect Greater Newport, the economic development research arm of the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce, to analyze the availability of workforce housing for residents in Newport and Bristol counties.

van Beuren Charitable Foundation provided a $71,000 grant and BankNewport provided a $10,000 grant to study the gaps in available housing for the local workforce and develop a plan to predict and address those gaps for the next decade.

According to The Newport Daily News, “The chamber is currently in the data collection phase of the project and recently released a survey on workforce housing to member businesses.

The goal of the survey is to gauge greater Newport County businesses’ plans for their employees in the future, how many people they expect to hire and what they anticipate paying them, to better understand what the needs for housing will be.

‘We’re taking a bit of a different approach than other more traditional annual reports that come out about housing affordability because we’re not just looking at low to moderate income. We’re looking at the workforce housing category, which is considered to be around 80 to 120% of the median income,’ Donovan-Boyle said. ‘We’re looking at mid-level managers, we’re looking at teachers, nurses, even police officers, firemen, all of those types of individuals who fall into that salary range.’

The median annual income for households in Newport County is estimated to be about $84,282, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey, which makes the salary range for households identified as ‘workforce housing’ to be between $67,425 and $101,138. 

The survey is just one part of the larger report the chamber is compiling, which it hopes to release by the end of this year. Donovan-Boyle said the chamber is also looking into how zoning laws impact workforce housing availability and trying to assess what housing stock is already available. The chamber plans to release a more official announcement of the project in the coming months.”

Point32Health Foundation Commits $1 Million to Organizations Working on Social and Racial Justice Across Five States

Point32Health Foundation announced grants totaling $1 million to advance social and racial equity across five states. The funds will support nonprofit organizations that include diverse voices and perspectives, eliminate systemic barriers, and advocate for stronger communities. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and Tufts Health Plan Foundation, which combined to become Point32Health Foundation, have committed more than $5.5 million to support racial equity since 2020. The grants will support 16 nonprofit organizations, two in Connecticut, three each in Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, and four in Massachusetts. Organizations will have flexibility in how the resources are used and are not tied to a specific project or initiative. $125,000 will go to Rhode Island nonprofits.  The three recipients are AMOR Coalition, Center for Southeast Asians, and SISTA Fire.

To engage its own community of colleagues, the Foundation also has expanded Point32Health’s employee match program. A new two-for-one match aims to incentivize colleagues to support nonprofits that advance social and racial justice as well as eliminate systemic barriers. This new double match is available year-round.

Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation Donates $190,000 to RI and CT Organizations

The Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation has awarded $198,850 in funding to 21 organizations throughout Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Rhode Island organizations receiving second quarter grants are: