The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that invests in the health and well-being of Louisianians by supporting health and education related programs. The Foundation also works to build community partnerships that deepen the impact of the work everyday people are doing to improve the state.


Funding Innovation

Through its New Horizons grantmaking program, the Blue Cross Foundation is fostering innovation as a means of improving health and well-being in Louisiana. Through this program, we hope to encourage a research-based and scientific approach to philanthropy through testing ideas and
seeing what works. The first step in that process is challenging the status quo with new ideas.

Our goal is to find exciting, emerging ideas and social startups that have the potential to disrupt negative trends in health, education and other issues that directly impact quality of life for Louisianians. A successful New Horizons project may make changes in policies, norms, practices and social supports; it may also be a new pilot intervention, plan or approach.


2020 New Horizons Grantees:
  • Vincent De Paul partnered with local volunteer dentists to expand community access to free dental care to an additional 400 patients and decrease Emergency Room Visits for Dental Emergencies.
  • Louisiana Center for the Blind piloted the Blindness Learning Lab of Louisiana to promote economic vitality and well-being through specialized employment and financial education for people living with visual impairment.
  • Companion Animal Alliance launched Get Fit with Fido, a dog-walking program that encourages participants to not only increase their own physical activity, but to simultaneously help the lost and abandoned shelter animals of East Baton Rouge Parish.
  • Central Louisiana Aids Supports Services developed and piloted a syringe services program, serving 2,000 individuals with the aim of reducing the number of people contracting and spreading HIV and viral hepatitis infections by decreasing sharing of drug injection equipment.
  • Friends of City Park developed an app to encourage and track outdoor recreational activity/habit using trail routes within the New Orleans City Park.
  • YMCA of Capital Area provided a three-month membership with access to one or more disease prevention or maintenance programs to 170 at-risk minority residents of North Baton Rouge and matched them with a Healthy Living Coach to create individualized plans for exercise and healthy eating, behaviors that can prevent disease and increase the quantity and quality of years of life.
  • Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (CLEDA) implemented the Outdoor Recreation Fellowship, a grassroots leadership development pipeline to build foundational sustainability for the growth of Outside Central, the state’s first regional outdoor recreation initiative. The Fellowship consists of a series of in-person or virtual workshops.
  • 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge finalized a curriculum designed to equip 1,000 middle and high school students with healthy coping mechanisms to deal with racial challenges.
  • Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation created a new Certified Nurse Aide program that will prepare high school students desiring careers in the health care field with a pathway to earn an industry-based certification.
  • The Family Road Centering Pregnancy Program extended direct access to Centering Pregnancy, a proven program, to help address health disparities among high-risk and under-served women. This initiative could serve as a model for the expansion of these types of patient-centered care at lower costs.
Funding Programs with Proven Results

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is committed to making ongoing investments in the work of partners who have made a demonstrated impact on the health and wellbeing of Louisianians. That’s why we invite past Foundation grantees to submit applications for Special Project Grants. These grants will help our established partners further their important work on behalf of Louisianians in need.


2020 Special Projects Grantees:
  • Coding for Youth with Autism – Pathway Out of Poverty: Families Helping Families of Southeast Louisiana created a coding program to help place youth with Autism in meaningful training and work situations to decrease isolation and increase wage-earning potential. Grant funds expanded the coding pilot program to 30 additional youth and supports the regional expansion of the program to serve more people with autism.
  • Mentorship and Support Initiative: Fostering Community is the only foster care support entity in the Alexandria region. They have developed and implemented a mentorship program between current and new foster families to improve foster parent retention, reduce placement disruptions, and recruit more foster families to serve the 400+ children in area foster care.
  • Knowledge is Power Program Expansion: The Gingerbread House works collaboratively with local agencies to investigate, prosecute, and treat cases of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse. As a result of the expansion of the Knowledge is Power program, an additional 35,000 children and adults will receive educational outreach sessions focused on prevention and identification of child abuse.
  • Changing the Narrative: Line4Line works through barbershops to support literacy and close the achievement gap by building self-esteem and providing positive learning opportunities for urban youth through mentor led out of school reading programs. Grant funds will allow them to expand their efforts by 75% to serve 450 more students, creating a data driven program that can be shared to address unique needs and challenges of African American boys 3-19.
  • Families & Communities – Collaboration for Louisiana Children: Crossroads NOLA, which helps recruit and train foster families, has expanded services to support the DCFS Covington region and develop statewide coaching supports for organizations and systems serving vulnerable children and families. These expansion efforts are designed to increase placement stability for children placed in foster care and improve collaboration between organizations to eliminate fragmented services in communities.
  • Home Start Early Childhood Education Program: The BR Early Childhood Education Collaborative has designed a unique approach to serve preschoolers not enrolled in early childhood care through partnership with the Public Housing Authority and community home visitors. The Home Start Early Childhood Education program will assist 50 low-income families in preparing children to meet early childhood health and development milestones through weekly home visits, technology, and curriculum resources.
  • A Statewide Initiative to End Perinatal Disparities: This initiative by the Builders of the Highway Foundation aims to address Louisiana’s high maternal and infant mortality rates by developing and implementing a statewide perinatal community-based training initiative using a home visiting, community doula model. This year, 13 Healthy Birth Ambassadors have been trained and will gain certification as Childbirth Educators, Lactation Consultants, and Doulas. The community birth workers will also provide outreach, education, and birth services to families in high risk areas.
  • Providence Road Leadership Academy: Providence Road is an organization that engages with young people to decrease violent crimes, gang affiliations, and school expulsions. The Leadership Academy will strengthen program components and expand the organization to serve 56 additional youth ages 12-18 in North Baton Rouge.
  • Healthy Community Design Center – A Data and Analysis Resource Pilot: The Center for Planning Excellence is piloting two data-driven, place-based interventions and evaluations designed to decrease health disparities and improve health outcomes. Pilot projects will work to improve accessibility to a community center in North Baton Rouge and assess the impacts of green infrastructure on community health in targeted New Orleans neighborhoods. CPEX plans to leverage data and pilot successes to create a Louisiana Healthy Community Design Guide and resource website to support organizations in their efforts to address the social determinants of health.


Bringing Together Communities for Change

Following the success of our first collective impact grant program – Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana – we know that grassroots coalitions are the key to making long-term changes in the trends of Louisiana’s overall health. That’s why we’re challenging communities across Louisiana to
build effective teams to tackle their most pressing health problems.

Each community’s top health challenges are different, and Collective Impact grant proposals may cover a wide range of issues in healthcare. In some places, addressing obesity, heart disease or diabetes may be the most pressing need in community health. In others, greater challenges may lie in mental health or disparities in access, quality or cost.


2020 Collective Impact Grantees:
  • Team of Dreams Adaptive Field: The Leadership Ascension program teamed up with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation to build an adaptive sports field in Gonzales, LA providing 2500 children with special needs and 4000 typical youth access to a clean, safe place to play and learn. The Ripken Foundation will also help support adaptive youth sports and recreational programs at the field for children with physical and/or intellectual disabilities.
  • Building a Pipeline to Increase Nursing Workforce in Central Louisiana Region: The LSUA Department of Nursing has collaborated with community stakeholders to address the nursing shortage in the Central Louisiana region. By hiring a Student Success Coordinator and providing additional scholarship opportunities to students committed to working in the region, they plan to increase the number of registered nurses entering the workforce in Central Louisiana by 25% over three years.
  • A Collective Vision for Moms and Babies: The March of Dimes has established two additional collective impact sites in Louisiana that are focused on alleviating the disparities in preterm birth and maternal mortality. Shreveport and New Orleans will join the cohort of 8 cities across the nation to participate in the MOD collective impact framework that utilizes an equity and social determinants lens to improve maternal infant health outcomes.
The Angel Award

To live healthy lives, children need safe places to live, learn and play. They need access to healthy food, guidance and educational opportunity. Across Louisiana, there are thousands of children without access to the support they need to thrive. Thankfully, there are also thousands of everyday people working to make a difference in the lives of children.

The Angel Award® honors everyday people doing extraordinary good to meet the physical, emotional, creative or spiritual needs of Louisiana’s kids. Since 1995, the Foundation has recognized more than 200 of these outstanding individuals. Each Angel Award also provides much-needed resources—a $25,000 grant for each Angel’s nonprofit charity.

In 2020, we partnered with Louisiana Public Broadcasting to produce a one-hour television special celebrating the work of these exceptional individuals giving their lives in service of children. More than 70,000 people tuned in The Angel Award in October.

Meet the 2020 Angel Award Honorees

Angels of Change

Over the last 25 years, The Angel Award has recognized more than 220 outstanding advocates for children across the state, working in a number of issue areas such as housing, food security, mental health, physical fitness, foster care and many others. Based on observations of their successes, as well as data from our collective impact grant programs, we believe that grassroots coalitions and partnerships are key to making the long-term changes necessary to improve outcomes for our children.

We’re challenging leaders from within our Angel community (past honorees as well as the organizations they represent) to collaborate on proposals to make effective, lasting change.


2020 Angels of Change Grantees:
  • Wellness on Wheels: Multiple Angel Award winners teamed up to expand medical and mental health services for disadvantaged children in Northwest Louisiana. Grant funds allowed for the purchase of a pediatric Mobile Medical Clinic to bring healthcare to 28000+ students in Title One schools and rural sites throughout the region.
  • Baton Rouge Youth Workforce and Empowerment Coalition: Angel Award winners representing Front Yard Bikes, Humanities Amped, Line4Line, and The Big Buddy program joined forces to create the Baton Rouge Youth Workforce and Empowerment Coalition to serve under-resourced opportunity youth.  Through shared resources and collaborative programs, the group will provide 600 additional youth with part-time employment opportunities and engage 1,000 + youth in workforce development sessions.
Community Crisis and Disaster Response Grants

In response to the COVID-19 crisis and a devastating hurricane season, the Blue Cross Foundation allocated $10 million in funding to Community Crisis and Disaster Response Grants. These grants were general operational support to nonprofits and other community partners to address the immediate community needs after a disaster or crisis. To date, we have awarded $9 million in disaster grants, including:

  • $1.5 million for providing food to kids, financially insecure families and seniors
  • $843,000 to support healthcare needs, including
    securing critical supplies for providers, connecting individuals to care and mental health resources
  • $1.2 million to provide support for direct economic support funds, housing assistance and keeping families financially stable
  • $500,000 to sustain essential services disproportionately impacted by stay-at-home orders, such as sober housing, services for sexual assault victims and a limited scope of education-related services
  • $740,000 for regional groups organizing disaster response in communities across Louisiana, and support of nonprofits through community relief funds operated by local community foundations
  • $4.2 million to hurricane relief initiatives

You can learn more about our disaster response grants, as well as the many ways Blue Cross and its Foundation responded to COVID-19 on our COVID-19 and Natural Disaster Response page.



Return to the 2020 Community Partnerships Report Page