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Independence Blue Cross Foundation awards nearly $3.3 million in grants

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 17, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation) today announced its second major wave of funding that includes 74 grants in southeastern Pennsylvania, totaling nearly $3.3 million. The grants target three primary areas: strengthening the health care safety net, building healthier communities, and improving child health and wellness. These grants supplement nearly $1.8 million in grants the Foundation awarded earlier this year to help strengthen the nursing workforce through education, career development, and research.

Of the $3.3 million, the Foundation awarded nearly $2.5 million in general operating grants to 43 community health centers in southeastern Pennsylvania. Through the Foundation's Blue Safety Net program nearly $10 million in grants have been awarded to date to community health centers, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, free clinics, and hospital system affiliated clinics.

The $3.3 million funding also includes nine additional grants totaling more than $520,000 to build community health center capacity. This includes several innovative pilots in telemedicine, mobile dental, and trauma-informed care, which focuses on lifelong care for victims of violence, crime, and other traumatic events that can negatively affect a person's current and future physical and mental health.

The new grants were developed in response to the results of a Blue Safety Net needs assessment funded by the Foundation and conducted by Drexel University's School of Public Health earlier this year. The assessment led to the Foundation identifying two areas of focus: to increase access to care through technology and to implement new models to improve care coordination.

"We are proud that our funding will continue to help our community partners address some of our most prevalent health care challenges, such as access to quality care for our most vulnerable populations," said Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the Foundation. "We're also excited to be adding new support for a rapidly growing area in health care that addresses the unique needs of caring for people who have experienced a variety of traumatic events."

Through its Building Healthier Communities grant program, the Foundation partners with community organizations offering programs that improve the health and wellness of the people of southeastern Pennsylvania. The $3.3 million includes $276,000 in funding to 21 organizations, including the following new grantees:

  • Adults with Developmental Disabilities: To help special needs adults develop skills for more independent living;
  • Common Market Philadelphia, Inc.: To design and conduct a study measuring the effect of the Farm Share on the health of participants and on the cost of their health insurance;
  • Headstrong Foundation: To address the primary needs of cancer patients after discharge from a long hospital stay;
  • Mighty Writers: To teach children and young adults from low income areas to write and think with clarity;
  • Peoples Emergency Center: To fund uGo, which provides free and fun opportunities to create healthier, more active communities.
  • Peter's Place: For bereavement services for children, primarily in low income communities;
  • Rolling Harvest Food Rescue: To provide fresh foods from local farmers to hunger relief sites that help families in Bucks County;
  • Turning Points for Children: To address food insecurity through a community based pantry that is connected to more than 4,000 households;
  • Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians: To implement employment education for foreign- trained health professionals.

Through the second wave of funding, the Foundation also added funding for its comprehensive three-year, $3 million child wellness initiative Healthy Futures with a $25,000 grant to the GENYOUth and the NFL's Fuel up to Play 60 program which empowers students to innovate and lead sustainable healthy changes in their school. The grant will fund a pilot in six Healthy Futures schools in five counties.

Launched in August 2013, Healthy Futures offers programming in 25 regional schools, directly affecting more than 1,000 students and their families. Other Healthy Futures partners include The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Drexel University, Garces Foundation, Greener Partners, Philadelphia Freedoms, The Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Union, and Vetri Community Partnership.

About the Independence Blue Cross Foundation

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is a charitable, private foundation, whose mission is leading solutions for a healthier community. The foundation targets the following areas:

  • Securing the Blue Safety Net. Supporting private, nonprofit community health center clinics that provide access to quality, affordable healthcare in medically underserved areas.
  • Bolstering the Health Care Workforce. Strengthening the nursing, primary care, and allied health workforce through education, career development, and research.
  • Addressing Health Priorities. Collaborating with wellness partners to tackle the region's most pressing health challenges; currently combating the obesity epidemic through the Foundation Healthy Futures Initiative.
  • Building Healthier Communities. Partnering with community leaders and programs to address community health and wellness needs.

Learn more by visiting our website: www.ibxfoundation.org. Connect with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation on Twitter at @ibxfdn.

CONTACT: Ruth Stoolman Independence Blue Cross Ruth.stoolman@ibx.com 215.241.4807 (office) 215.667.9537 (cell)

Source:Independence Blue Cross Foundation