MINNEAPOLIS, July 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation has awarded more than $3.1M in grants to 23 nonprofit organizations in Minnesota. Grant awards are for one or two years and range from $20,000 to $100,000 per year. Eighteen grants are part of the Healthy Start program, which supports efforts to improve access to quality early childhood care and education throughout the state.
Improving access to early childhood care and education has been a focus of the Blue Cross Foundation for more than 15 years. This essential driver of lifelong health was brought into even sharper focus amid the COVID-19 pandemic, when the needs of essential workers increased and many early care providers struggled to remain open and offer care for children during the crisis.
"The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact nearly every aspect of life, including early childhood care and education," said Dr. Mark Steffen, chair of the Blue Cross Foundation and chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. "In these times of uncertainty, the fact remains that early childhood care is a health issue, not just an education issue. And it is imperative that we support this critical need in our state."
"The root issues that prevent families from accessing quality early childhood care and education are not new with the emergence of COVID-19, but the strain on providers and families has intensified," added Carolyn Link, president of the Foundation. "These Healthy Start grants aim to address the unique needs of each community served by our grantee partners."
The following organizations were selected to receive Healthy Start grants:
Alliance of Early Childhood Professionals, Minneapolis
Children's Defense Fund – Minnesota, St. Paul
Close Gaps by 5, Minneapolis
Fond du Lac Tribal College, Cloquet
La Red Latina de Educacion Temprana, Richfield
Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership, Moorhead
Northfield Healthy Community Initiative, Northfield
Northland Foundation, Duluth
Northside Achievement Zone, Minneapolis
Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Bemidji
Somali Community Resettlement Services, Faribault
Southwest Initiative Foundation, Hutchinson
Think Small, St. Paul
United Community Action Partnership, Willmar
Way to Grow, Minneapolis
West Central Initiative, Fergus Falls
Wildflower Foundation, Minneapolis
In addition, three nonprofits were awarded grants to help strengthen and build nonprofit capacity:
Alliance for Metro Stability, Minneapolis
Nexus Community Partners, St. Paul
Voices for Racial Justice, Minneapolis
Two organizations were awarded grants as part of the Foundation's Access to Coverage program, focused on increasing health care coverage across Minnesota:
Generations Health Care Initiatives, Duluth
Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance, St. Cloud
Read more about the grants here.
About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation makes a healthy difference in communities by advancing health equity and improving conditions where people live, learn, work and play, awarding more than $55 million to over 500 nonprofits since it was established in 1986. For more information on Blue Cross' grantmaking programs, visit bluecrossmnfoundation.org.
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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation