Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina established the independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation to maintain and expand its ability to serve the emerging community needs of its home state. The foundation’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of everyone in North Carolina. It sees its primary role as helping to make North Carolina one of the healthiest states in the nation in a generation.
The foundation’s geographic reach spans the entire state of North Carolina where it supports nonprofit organizations, government entities, and community collaborations – both large and small – working to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be healthy.
During the last year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation engaged in a strategic planning process, exploring answers to the two most important questions it faces as an organization. What will it take for North Carolina to become one of the healthiest states in the nation where everyone has an opportunity to be healthy? What will be its role in this pursuit?
The foundation team reflected on their own experience and commitment to equity, engaged grantees and partners for external feedback, and monitored trends and changes in the field, arriving at the following areas of priority.
- Early Childhood—Every young child (ages 0-5) in North Carolina has the opportunity and resources to be healthy and well-prepared for lifelong success in school, work, and life.
- Healthy Communities—Every community has the conditions for good health.
- Healthy Food—Everyone in North Carolina has access to healthy food.
- Oral Health—Everyone in North Carolina has access to quality, affordable oral health services.
Total Assets: $194 million FY19-20
Amount Dedicated to Health-Related Grants: $17 million FY19-20
Special Initiatives and/or Representative Health and Human Services Grants
Community-Centered Health—This is a long-term, multi‐dimensional initiative to increase the capacity of North Carolina communities to act on the root causes of poor health and health disparities. It supports nine grantees working in cross-sector partnerships and with community members to implement policy and system change including shifts at health care organizations to advance health equity. ($10 million over 10 years)
NC Oral Health Collaborative—The collaborative convenes diverse partners to identify systemic barriers to good oral health and accelerate the implementation of policies that reduce oral health disparities. ($1 million over three years)
SHAPE NC—This initiative is designed to ensure that more children enter kindergarten at a healthy weight. Through grants to several organizations, the foundation has supported more than 200 child care sites across the state to develop outdoor learning environments, practices, and policies that promote healthy eating and active play. (More than $10 million since 2010)
Community Food Strategies, NC State University—Food councils drive policy and systems change on a local, regional, and state level grounded in the lived experience of people in communities with a goal of creating a more equitable food system. The foundation supports statewide technical assistance and networking among food councils to strengthen their impact. ($2 million over two years)
Legal Aid of NC—In the context of the state’s Medicaid transformation, developing equitable partnerships with fair financing models to address social needs is key to achieving the goal of ‘paying for health.’ This grant supports strategic planning, business model development, and capacity building to integrate high-quality legal services into value-based models of care. ($250,000 for one year)
Responding to COVID-19
“The COVID-19 pandemic is becoming the defining moment of our time. And so too will the response. Coming through to the other side will take the collective effort of all sectors – including philanthropy – both in the now and in the rebuilding that will follow.
We are orienting our resources to support organizations that are focused on rebuilding for greater equity. System- and policy-level changes to address and eliminate disparities and inequities within our communities must come forward as part of the recovery, and it will be imperative that those of us in philanthropy commit to supporting these transformational efforts.”
–John Lumpkin, MD, MPH, President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation