Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) announced the 13 community partners for its tenth annual day of service this fall to support the health and well-being of Rhode Islanders.
Since the day’s inception, BCBSRI employees have signed up to provide support for tasks at 118 service day projects, including curating outdoor spaces, packaging footwear for children impacted by homelessness, building affordable and safe homes, creating meal kits for distribution by local food banks and conducting impactful projects virtually.
In addition to volunteer support, project sites will receive a financial contribution of $5,000 from BCBSRI to support their work. Since the inaugural Blue across Rhode Island in 2012, employees have provided more than 30,000 volunteer hours and the company has donated more than $605,000 in funding to nearly 70 agencies around the state.
Recognized nationally as a “Best in Class” volunteer initiative, Blue across Rhode Island has become not only a signature event for BCBSRI employees, but also an invaluable resource for the organizations and those involved – making a lasting impact on the lives of more than 133,000 people throughout the state.
The local organizations selected for Blue across Rhode Island 2021 and the projects BCBSRI employees will work on include 134 Collaborative, Amenity Aid, Boys & Girls Club of Northern Rhode Island, Children’s Friend, Gotta Have Sole Foundation, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Providence, South County Habitat for Humanity, Happy Hope Foundation, Hope Alzheimer’s Center, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, Partnership for Providence Parks, Recs & Streetscapes, Playworks New England, Riverzedge Arts.
Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced 16 new grants to support collaborative initiatives helping communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island be great places to grow up and grow old.
The grants, totaling $1.95 million, aim to increase access to healthy food, housing, technology, and other supports. They invest in community-led efforts to promote systems change and encourage collaboration.
HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University was awarded a two-year, $120,000 grant to develop a comprehensive, 10-year strategy to address housing needs and challenges for older adults across Rhode Island as part of the Collaboration ad Community Engagement grant program.
First joint community investment supports 42 organizations in five states
In their first joint community investment, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and Tufts Health Plan Foundation are giving $1 million to support vaccine education, awareness and outreach in communities of color across New England, including $175,000 to Rhode Island organizations. Just one month after Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan announced their combined organization, this investment is an immediate response to emerging needs in Black and Brown communities across the region disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
“With the pandemic continuing to have a devastating impact on Black and Brown communities, this funding will give a boost to organizations across the region working tirelessly to support the needs of their community members and create awareness around the importance of the vaccine, ” said Michael Carson, president of the combined organization of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, and chairman of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation board.
Grants will support a range of organizations—from statewide organizations to local community nonprofits. They include faith-based organizations, trusted Black/Latinx-led community nonprofits, and organizations with experience coordinating multilingual efforts.
Rhode Island grantees include Children’s Friend, Comprehesive Community Action Program, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Local Initiatives Support Corporatio, ONE Neighborhood Builders, Progreso Latino, Thundermist Health Center, United Way of Rhode Island, and West Elmwood Housing Development Corp.
Investments focus on engaging older people in solutions
As part of new funding totaling $1.325 million across four New England states, Tufts Health Plan Foundation has awarded $300,000 to two Rhode Island organizations to advance policies and practices that support healthy aging. The new grants engage older people in systems-level change to remove barriers responsible for inequities in communities across the region.
The Policy and Advocacy grants were awarded to the Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island, and University of Rhode Island’s Foundation and Feinstein Center for a Hunger-Free America.
The Foundation has announced more than $7 million to support community organizations this year, including $3.4 million for pandemic response and advancing racial justice.
The Rhode Island COVID-19 Response Fund has now allocated a total of $7.2 million to 180 organizations, to provide emergency support for food, rent, utilities and medical expenses.
The sixth round of grants also provided protective gear for health care workers caring for patients at nearly a dozen nursing homes and medical facilities across the state. The fund includes over $1 million in funding from GCRI member organizations, and is spearheaded by the Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island.
Full list of grantees
CVS Health announced its commitment to flattening the “second curve,” the less visible but escalating mental health crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. To help address America’s expanding mental and emotional wellbeing needs, the company is enhancing its nationwide mental health programming effort with new charitable investments focused on health care workers, essential workers and seniors.
Since March 1, CVS Health has seen a 200 percent increase in virtual mental health visits as compared to the same period last year, as well as substantial increases in calls for help with psychological distress including anxiety, grief and loss, and trauma. Health care workers are under extreme stress and anxiety fighting to save lives, while in many cases, isolating themselves after shifts to keep their own family safe. Self-isolation also affects older adults whose only social contacts are outside of their homes.
CVS Health will increase access to the following resources through targeted financial support:
- Supporting Americares COVID-19 Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Project with a $500,000 contribution from the Aetna Foundation to help frontline health care workers, particularly those who serve low-income populations, improve their mental health awareness, knowledge and resiliency, and understand the mental health concerns impacting their patients.
- Expert crisis support for frontline health care and essential workers through Crisis Text Line via a $300,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation. For the Frontlines is a dedicated effort to provide 24/7 confidential direct mental health support for those on the frontlines, including health care workers dealing with the stress, anxiety, fear, depression and/or isolation associated with COVID-19. Health care and essential workers can text FRONTLINE to 741741 from anywhere in the U.S. to communicate with a trained volunteer crisis counselor at no cost.
CVS Health is also making Aetna’s Resources for Living (RFL) program available to everyone, which includes phone support, assistance for employers, support for basic needs, as well as educational resources.
Finally, CVS Health is offering increased support for its own employees through various resources that help build mental health resilience, cope with uncertainty, reduce stress and stay connected. These services will be delivered with 7 Cups, an online platform that connects people to a caring, emotionally supportive volunteer listener to prevent depression and anxiety.
Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced funding to 18 additional nonprofit organizations as part of the $1 million it has committed to support community efforts on behalf of older people affected by the coronavirus. This second wave of funding, totaling $345,000, focuses on housing and equity efforts in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut.
The organizations include housing providers, those working with people experiencing homelessness and immigrant communities, and several serving as hubs for collaborative regional responses.
In Rhode Island, grantees in the current wave of funding were House of Hope Community Development Corporation and Saint Elizabeth Community.
The Foundation also is accelerating payments to current grantees, easing the financial pressure they are facing. These payments will give community organizations an additional $1.5 million to support emerging priorities.
“As the coronavirus spreads throughout our region, it is clear communities of color and organizations serving older people are disproportionately affected,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “Organizations working with those most at risk are a priority for the Foundation. More resources are essential to help all our communities face this public health crisis.”
The Foundation continues to offer a two-for-one match to Tufts Health Plan employees and board members who donate to organizations during the pandemic. To date, an additional $55,000 has been contributed to community organizations through this program.
The Chartercare Foundation’s COVID19 Response Fund has acted quickly to address needs of nonprofits in RI. To date, the Foundation has awarded nearly $100,000 to the following agencies:
· Meals on Wheels to address increasing food insecurities among elderly and shut-ins;
· Thundermist Health for a call center and outdoor triage unit serving 52,000 patients in 3 locations;
· Meeting Street School for stabilization for vulnerable families in the early intervention program through tele-health initiatives;
· RI Free Clinic for triage response for uninsured adults thru teleservice infrastructure;
· Comprehensive Community Action for a telehealth initiative at 4 sites
· Women’s Resource Center of Newport for remote clinical mental health support for victims of domestic violence.
In addition, the Foundation has partnered with Family Service of RI in broadening the scope of distribution of Be Safe Kits to disadvantaged families throughout Rhode Island.
The Foundation will continue to monitor community needs and may open a second round of funding. For details on this and other grant opportunities, please visit www.chartercarefoundation.org.
Tufts Health Plan Foundation is making an additional $1 million available to efforts driven by community and to nonprofit organizations supporting older people affected by the coronavirus outbreak in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut.
Tufts Health Plan Foundation will continue to support healthy aging by funding organizations assisting with access to food, at-home support, housing, transportation, medical supplies and other services, especially for older people and those most vulnerable. Those with underlying health conditions and people over 60 have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. It is especially important to ensure resources are available to provide these supports and services.
The Foundation announced that $125,000 will be given to Rhode Island efforts including Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, and the RI COVID-19 Response Fund (Rhode Island Foundation/United Way of Rhode Island).
“We are grateful to the local, state and federal public health agencies, first responders, and the many community organizations who are stepping up to respond to this challenge,” said Tom Croswell, president and CEO of Tufts Health Plan. “We hope this funding will provide local organizations flexibility in their operations to respond to pressing and emerging needs in the communities they support.”
Tufts Health Plan Foundation also will provide current grantees the flexibility to adjust their budgets to support new work related to COVID-19. In addition, donations made by Tufts Health Plan employees to nonprofit organizations responding to COVID-19 are eligible for a two-for-one match, effectively tripling their donations. This double match will allow employees to give to where they see the biggest needs in their communities.
“We’re grateful to our board for their swift action,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “It’s our responsibility to listen to community, to be nimble, relevant and responsive.”
Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced a three year grant to Age Friendly RI as part of nine new community investments totaling $972,000, all of which demonstrate the Foundation’s commitment to policies and practices that support healthy aging. These investments are in addition to $3.9 million in grants announced earlier this year.
“The Foundation is proud to support community efforts to be vibrant, healthy and equitable,” said Tom Croswell, Tufts Health Plan president and CEO and a member of the Foundation’s board of directors. “Advocating for public policy change is essential to achieving social change at scale.”
Tufts Health Plan Foundation is the only regional funder exclusively focused on healthy aging. The new grants support engagement of older people as advocates on critical policy work to include addressing gaps in food and health care access, transportation and community safety.
“We value advocacy and leadership among older people,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “The organizations we are supporting demonstrate collaboration with state agencies and other community groups that spurs innovation and makes our communities better places to grow up and grow old.”
Age Friendly Rhode Island was awarded $360,000 to strengthen its organizational capacity and engage, encourage and expand cross-sector collaboration and information sharing.