News Releases - 2013

March 14, 2013

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation Contributions Top $615,900 in 2012

Community health centers and non-profit organizations focused on improving the health of Kansas children were among organizations that received funding in late 2012 from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation.

In all, the BCBSKS Foundation distributed $615,902.73 during 2012 to 226 non-profit entities in its 103-county service area.

“The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation remains committed to improving the health of Kansans by funding programs that promote health improvement, health care access and education, health behaviors and prevention initiatives,” said Marlou Wegener, chief operating officer of the BCBSKS Foundation. “Much of the Foundation’s giving in 2012 focused on programs targeting our youth, helping build the strong foundation for a lifetime of healthy living, and in expanding access to health care for the uninsured and underinsured.”

Two of the largest, single programs the Foundation funded during 2012 are Healthy Habits for Life, a school grant program that provided $148,798.73, to 159 schools for programs supporting cardiovascular health, nutrition education and increased physical activity, and the Kansas Lions Mobile Screening Unit. For a fifth straight year, the Foundation provided the Kansas Lions Sight Foundation $100,000 to support the operations and travel expenses of the Lions Mobile Screening Unit. The unit travels throughout Kansas offering the following free health screenings to Kansans: visual acuity, field of vision, hearing, blood pressure and blood sugar.

In addition to funding those programs, the BCBSKS Foundation also made major grants to the following organizations in 2012:

Community Health Centers
A total of $87,000 was shared by 29 community health centers, with each center receiving $3,000 to assist it in serving the medical needs of the uninsured and underinsured in its community. The following centers received the funding: Agape Health Center, Pratt; Atchison Community Health Center, Atchison; Cheyenne County Clinic, St. Francis; Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, Pittsburg; Community Health Ministry Clinic, Wamego; First Care Clinic, Hays; Flint Hills Community Clinic, Manhattan; Flint Hills Community Health Center, Emporia; Greeley County Health Services, Sharon Springs; Health Ministries Clinic, Newton; Heart of Kansas Family Health Care, Great Bend; Hoxie Medical Center, Hoxie; Hutchinson Area Student Health Services, Hutchinson; Konza Prairie Community Health Center, Junction City; Marian Clinic, Topeka; Mercy Health Systems: Cherryvale Clinic, Cherryvale; PrairieStar Health Center, Hutchinson; Rawlins County Dental Clinic, Rawlins; Saint Vincent Clinic, Leavenworth; Salina Family Healthcare Center, Salina; United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries, Garden City.

Also, in Lawrence, Douglas County Dental Clinic, Health Care Access, Heartland Community Health Center. And, in Wichita, Center for Health and Wellness, E.C. Tyree Health and Dental Clinic, GraceMed Health Clinic, Guadalupe Clinic and Hunter Health Clinic.

Kansas Head Start Association (KHSA) Parent Health Literacy Project
With an $80,000 grant from the BCBSKS Foundation, KHSA will be able to continue its Parent Health Literacy Project into 2013 after completion of work through a previous funder. The project, often delivered through Head Start organizations, teaches low-income parents and trains medical practitioners and community resources who serve them on how to make wise decisions on when and where to access the health care system when their child is sick. The project is based on the book What to Do When Your Child Gets Sick, which covers the management of more than 50 common childhood illnesses, injuries and health problems. Targeting low-income parents of children from birth to age eight, the project encourages developing a relationship with a medical professional and teaches participants under what circumstances it is appropriate to call their child’s doctor or nurse, and when it is best to seek care in an emergency room. For more information on the Parent Health Literacy Project, please contact Lori Alvarado, KHSA executive director, at (785) 856-3132.

Kansas Learning Center for Health
The Kansas Learning Center for Health, Halstead, received a $30,000 grant that will allow this statewide non-profit organization that specializes in health curriculum for K-12 students saturate schools in southeast Kansas with health programs. Kansas Learning Center for Health is focusing on 29 elementary schools in this region because demographics show a high percentage of low-income students who receive free or reduced-price lunches attend schools in districts that do not have the financial resources to purchase Kansas Learning Center for Health programs. With the BCBSKS Foundation funding, the Kansas Learning Center for Health will be able to deliver age-appropriate health and wellness curriculum that engages students in a variety of ways through specific activities and take home pieces. For more information on Kansas Learning Center for Health, please contact Brenda Sooter, executive director at (316) 835-2662.

Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters
Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters received a $20,000 grant to help it implement a new healthy lifestyles program called Matches on the Move. The program, which will be available in 89 Kansas counties, provides the "bigs" with a health curriculum and activities that will be required when a "big" and "little" get together on a weekly basis, and also helps them set goals on physical activity and other health-related activities. In addition, the adults and children will come together in their communities each month to learn and participate in such activities as healthy cooking classes, fun exercise classes, and more, benefiting the health of both the “bigs” and the “littles.” For more information on Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters, please contact Tammy Boucher, director of corporate partnership, (316) 263-3300.

American Diabetes Association
With a $10,000 grant to the American Diabetes Association, 26 children will receive a partial scholarship to attend Camp Discovery, Kansas' only educational and health-oriented residential summer camp for children with diabetes. For 40 years, Camp Discovery has helped children understand diabetes, empowering them to manage their disease in order to prevent or postpone diabetes-related complications. Children come from all over Kansas to the one-week residential camp in Wichita, with camp tuition covering medical supplies, curriculum, take-home tools, lodging and meals. No child is turned away due to financial means and, last year, 40 percent of children attending camp needed financial assistance to pay for all or part of their tuition. For more information on Camp Discovery, please contact RaeAnn Wirths, camp director, (316) 684-6091, ext. 6904.

About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation promotes the good health of Kansans who live in the Foundation’s 103-county service area. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, the largest health insurer in the state, incorporated the Foundation in 2005 as a way to further deepen its commitment to helping all Kansans lead healthier lives, an effort which both entities believe is an essential factor in keeping health care affordable. Through its giving, the Foundation focuses on key health issues that can impact the lives of many Kansans. It funds programs and activities that are, at their core, health-related and in particular, promote health improvement, health care access, health education, healthy behaviors and prevention initiatives. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Both entities serve all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information on the Foundation, visit

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