Blue Cross Blue Shield Grants $500K to Boost Healthy Living

November 24, 2019 —Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts last week announced it granted $100,000 to each of five Massachusetts nonprofits engaged in initiatives that influence behavior change and advance the health of residents by addressing the inter-connectedness of healthy eating, active lifestyles, and positive environments.

Blue Cross said the grants, from its new Healthy Living Accelerator program, will enable each organization to significantly scale their respective programs and improve access to nutritious meals, fitness opportunities, and healthy environments for communities across Massachusetts.

In addition to the financial support, Blue Cross said it will provide skill-building and pro-bono support to help the organizations successfully execute their initiative.

Receiving the grants were the following:
  • Collaborative for Educational Services, Northampton, to scale the Healthy Food Where You Live mobile farmers markets model to reach food desert communities in Amherst and the twelve towns in the Hilltown region. This model brings produce from local farms to communities with limited access to grocery stores.

  • East Boston Airproofing: Air Partners, East Boston, to create a national model based in East Boston to improve air quality in communities with high levels of ultrafine particles (UFPs). Attention will be focused on raising awareness about the sources and impacts of UFPs and other pollutants and equipping residents with strategies to reduce their exposure.

  • Food For Free, Cambridge, to expand its Family Meals program, which takes prepared food from corporate, university, and hospital dining services and turns it into attractive, balanced, single-serving meals, to reach an additional 1,000-2,000 food-insecure students at Roxbury Community College, UMass Boston, North Shore Community College, and Massachusetts College of Art.

  • Massachusetts Farm to School, Beverly, to pilot a school breakfast model in the Salem and Webster school districts that addresses the issue of childhood hunger and healthy food access by providing an innovative approach to increasing participation in school breakfast programs. Students will receive high quality scratch-cooked meals featuring local products that will be cost effective for the schools. The program will be evaluated and lessons documented in a tool for easy sharing with school districts throughout the state.

  • YMCA Old Colony, Brockton, to launch "Y on the Fly", a mobile van that will bring the YMCA's traditional opportunities for learning, physical activity, and healthy eating into the Brockton, Stoughton, and Taunton where there is limited access to safe recreation.