As Needs Evolve, Blue Cross Foundation Continues to Make Disaster Response Grants
Foundation has made $8.66 M in grants to Louisiana nonprofits responding to COVID-19, hurricanes
(Baton Rouge, LA) —Since mid-March, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation has granted more than $8.66 million to dozens of nonprofits across the state working to meet the needs of communities in response to COVID-19 and 2020’s damaging hurricane season, including Hurricane Laura. The Foundation continues to accept applications for funding as long as needs arise and funds are available.
Over the course of 2020, the Foundation committed an additional $10 million in spending, a significant uptick in its normal grantmaking practice, which is normally around $3.5 million per year. The Foundation has invested those additional dollars in nonprofit programs providing food, housing, direct economic support to families, access to healthcare, mental health support, and regional disaster response efforts and community relief funds across Louisiana
The staff of the Foundation has worked closely with organizations on the front lines, monitoring progress and needs, and adjusting its spending to have the greatest impact possible. Additionally, Blue Cross has convened a network of grantmakers across the state, representing more than 50 organizations, to collaborate and make sure no community has been overlooked and as many needs are met as possible.
As needs continue to evolve, so will the Foundation’s focus areas. For example, while the Foundation does not make grants to healthcare providers supporting services covered by health-insurance, it does anticipate supporting nonprofits providing ancillary services related to vaccination efforts and evolving community needs as we head into the new year, says Michael Tipton, president of the Foundation:
“We have been asking communities and nonprofits to talk with healthcare providers and other public health experts to get a sense of what kind of services are needed to help communities navigate new and ongoing challenge and to be ready to get folks vaccinated when the time arrives. For example, in rural areas, some kind of transportation might be needed to get people to vaccination sites, particularly for seniors and those without access to transportation. There might be other sites in need of freezers to keep vaccines at the necessary temperatures or communities may need to address a host of issues related to health that this pandemic has made abundantly clear. We are relying on communities to do what they do best, which is be forward thinking about their people and let us know precisely what is needed,” he says.
About Community Crisis and Disaster Response Grants
In 2020, The Foundation has allocated $10 million for nonprofits meeting the needs of Louisianians who have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and hurricanes, including Hurricane Laura. Nonprofits are invited and encouraged to apply for the remaining grant funds. Qualifying work can include addressing immediate needs like food, clothing, shelter, and meeting household expenses. Grants can also be used to meet more long-term needs such as ongoing patient education and care navigation, vaccination, economic recovery efforts and more.
Community Crisis and Disaster Response are up to $50,000 and grants are made as general operating support – which means nonprofits can be flexible in their approach to solving problems for their communities.
For organizations addressing Hurricane Laura and related impacts, grants may be up to $250,000 although the work being done must take place in one of the parishes that received a Federal Disaster Declaration.
The Foundation continues to process grant applications weekly. The full request for proposals, as well as the application for the grant program are online at www.bcbslafoundation.org/disastergrants
About the Blue Cross Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation works each day to improve the health and lives of Louisianians by empowering everyday people to do extraordinary good. By building and funding coalitions of friends, families and neighbors, the Foundation hopes to build a healthier Louisiana, particularly for its children. The Foundation is funded solely by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, but is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity. Together, Blue Cross and the Blue Cross Foundation invest $3.5 million each year into Louisiana’s communities and nonprofits.