News Releases - 2014

January 21, 2014

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation Contributions Reach $641,635 in 2013

With an eye to addressing both the immediate health care needs of uninsured Kansans as well as supporting long-term initiatives to improve the overall health of residents, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation distributed $641,635.96 during 2013 to 260 non-profit entities in its 103-county service area.

The major grants ranged from a combined $129,904 to assist community mental health and community health centers provide immediate care for uninsured and underinsured clients to $55,000 in scholarship dollars to assist the next generation of nurses with their education to $50,000 for health-related exhibits at Kansas public libraries.

The Foundation's single largest program remained Healthy Habits for Life, which provided $149,650.16 through 160 grants for school-based programs supporting cardiovascular health, nutrition education and increased physical activity. In addition, the BCBSKS Foundation contributed $65,000 to United Way organizations and $25,000 towards the Kansas Rural Health Systems pilot.

"Since its inception in 2005, the giving philosophy of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation has remained staunchly focused on programs that expand access to health care, provide health education and improvement, or promote prevention activities," said Marlou Wegener, chief operating officer of the BCBSKS Foundation. "The funding decisions made by the Foundation's board of directors in 2013 support that focus and we are pleased to financially support the outstanding work and efforts of these like-minded organizations."

In addition to those organizations noted above, the BCBSKS Foundation made major grants of $10,000 or more to the following organizations in 2013:

Association of Community Mental Health Centers

A total of $72,000 was shared by 24 community mental health centers in the Foundation's service area. Each of the clinics will use its $3,000 contribution to provide mental health services to its uninsured clients. The following community mental health centers received funding:

Kansas Association of Medically Underserved

Twenty-eight community health clinics in the Foundation's service area shared a total of $57,904, or $2,068 each, to assist with direct health services for the uninsured populations the clinics collectively serve. The following community health centers received funding:

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Scholarships

Eleven educational institutions each received $5,000 for scholarships to help one or more nursing students pursue a bachelor of science degree. Institutions receiving funds for these scholarships were:

Kansas Public Library Association

The Kansas Public Library Association will use the $50,000 it received to purchase 40 traveling health literacy stations that will focus on health and wellness topics. Each of the stations will include a stand, iPad and numerous health applications and software that library patrons may use for learning. The association also will purchase promotional materials and train library staff on how to use and promote the exhibits that will travel to 365 public libraries. For more information on this program, please contact Candace LeDuc, communications coordinator, State Library of Kansas, candace-DOT-leduc-AT-library-DOT-ks-DOT-gov or (785) 291-3230.

ChildCare Aware of Kansas, Inc.

ChildCare Aware of Kansas, a resource and referral agency providing child care referrals, offering opportunities for technical assistance for child care centers and distributing helpful child development information, will use its $30,000 grant to support an early childhood wellness project. The project will encourage positive eating habits and regular exercise in young children, including educational materials and items for 480 child care providers in 60 child care centers. ChildCare Aware will offer a professional development session to distribute the curriculum, as well as monthly technical assistance and contact with the centers to evaluate the use of the health and wellness curriculum. For more information, contact Leadell Ediger, executive director, at leadell-AT-ks-DOT-childcareaware-DOT-org or (785) 823-3343.

American Red Cross

In conjunction with a community disaster response team comprised entirely of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas employees, a $25,000 contribution to American Red Cross marked the second year of a three-year commitment by the BCBSKS Foundation. The American Red Cross will use the funds for direct services to Kansans impacted by disaster in a 103-county area. For more information, contact Joann Long, community chapter executive, joann-DOT-long-AT-redcross-DOT-org or (785) 354-9237.

Kansas Child Care Training Opportunities, Inc.

Kansas Child Care Training Opportunities, Inc. (KCCTO), an organization dedicated to improving the quality of child care and early childhood settings through affordable, accessible, high-quality professional development opportunities for the Kansas early education work force, plans to use its $25,000 grant to purchase licensed online training modules entitled "Preventing Obesity and Promoting Wellness in Kansas." These modules will provide training opportunities for every child care teacher, Head Start teacher, pre-K teacher and child care center administrator in 103 Kansas counties (372 centers and 3,986 family child care homes), assisting each in meeting required continuing education hours to retain certification. For more information, contact Kasey Kile, KCCTO training and curriculum specialist, kak6868-AT-ksu-DOT-edu or (785) 532-7197.

Kansas Children’s Discovery Center

The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center in Topeka intends to use its $24,939 grant to fund programs that support health, wellness and physical activity exhibits. Specifically, to purchase supplies and equipment for a vegetable garden and science program; to purchase bicycles, pedal cars and tricycles for a Science of Cycling program that will support physical activity curriculum in the center's outdoor area; and to secure an Eat Well, Play Well traveling exhibit,  including programming and materials, for a nine-month stay at the center. For more information, contact Joanne Morrell, executive director, jmorrell-AT-kansasdiscovery-DOT-org or  (785) 783-8300.

Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition

A $10,000 contribution will assist with the development of local breastfeeding coalitions in 103 Kansas counties. The coalitions are comprised of advocates of breastfeeding in a variety of professional capacities, with the goal being to increase the number of current coalitions in Kansas from 16 to 21. Each coalition will be led by a facilitator charged with recruiting and training other members as well as offering community education about the importance of breastfeeding and how it supports life-long health. For more information, contact Brenda Bandy, program director, bandy-AT-kansasbusinesscase-DOT-com or (785) 539-3993.

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 www.bcbsks.com/foundation.

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