Michigan Health Endowment Fund
In 2013, Michigan passed legislation that changed how Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) operates in the state. This law also required BCBSM to contribute up to $1.56 billion over 18 years to an endowment fund, effectively creating the Michigan Health Endowment Fund (Health Fund). Through grantmaking, evaluation, and convenings, the Health Fund supports programs that improve the health and wellness of children and older adults while reducing health care costs.
The mission of the Health Fund is to improve the health of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of health care, with special emphasis on the health and wellness of children and seniors. It supports organizations in every region and size of community in Michigan, from urban cores to rural areas. While the Health Fund focuses on children and seniors, the programs it supports have the potential to improve health outcomes and reduce costs for all Michigan residents.
Program Information: The Health Fund has three annual proactive grantmaking initiatives: behavioral health, healthy aging, and nutrition & healthy lifestyles. In addition, it makes smaller grants to community organizations working in one or more of eight focus areas: infant mortality, behavioral health, healthy aging, wellness and fitness programs, access to healthy food, technology enhancements, health-related transportation needs, and foodborne illness prevention. Also, under the Special Projects & Emerging Ideas Initiative, the Health Fund works with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and other institutions to identify opportunities for transformative partnerships with the potential to impact statewide policy or practice.
Total Assets: $144 million FY16
Amount Dedicated to Health-Related Grants: $23,445,000 FY16
- Special Initiatives and/or Representative Health and Human Services Grants
Ruth Ellis Integrated Health & Wellness Center—To establish an in-house, integrated primary and behavioral health center co-located with existing support services for homeless, runaway, and at-risk LGBTQ youth and young adults. ($358,750)
Knock & Check (Henry Ford Health System)—To plan and pilot a UK-based program in which postal workers visit homes of older adults. By maximizing the capacity of an existing workforce, the program can reduce isolation, connect seniors to needed resources, and improve health outcomes. ($197,768)
Community Foundation of Greater Flint—To address the long-term needs of children impacted by the Flint water crisis. This is a 1:1 matching grant with C.S. Mott Foundation. ($500,000)
Student Gourmet (Alpena Area Senior Citizens Council, Inc.)—To establish a culinary arts class to teach Alpena High School students fresh food preparation and health and wellness skills. Students will prepare food for and interact with seniors through programs like Meals on Wheels. ($200,000)
Correctional Care Integration Project (Washtenaw County Community Mental Health)—To improve the quality and coordination of care for children and young adults who pass through the correctional system by implementing the exchange of behavioral and physical health information in a countywide system. ($393,087)
Role of Philanthropy in Meeting Pressing Needs
“Charitable organizations like the Health Fund must play a role in supporting the most vulnerable among us. However, philanthropy cannot fill all the gaps in funding for health and human services. As a foundation, our job is to support innovative and sustainable programs that can change lives for the better in the long term, hopefully preventing needs from becoming urgent in the first place. To that end, we are focused on funding projects that will improve policies and practices beyond any given grant cycle.”
– Paul Hillegonds, CEO