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Highmark gives $3.1 million to health-based projects in WNY, with focus on East Buffalo

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Posted at 3:48 PM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 15:48:39-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York announced the recipients of its 2022 'Blue Fund' grant program. A total of $3.1 million will support 16 health-based projects in Western New York with a focus on organizations serving East Buffalo following the mass shooting at Tops.

The annual grant program started in July 2018 to support key health-based initiatives and demonstrate positive outcomes for the community.

“Funding initiatives that align with our mission through Blue Fund and nonprofit giving, building strong non-profit partnerships, and encouraging our team members to pay it forward whenever possible define our overall commitment to the community. Every day we see the impact of our Blue Fund investments in the community and are proud to invest an additional $3.1 million to help fund these extraordinary nonprofit partners and programs.”
- Michael Ball, Vice President, Community Affairs, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York.

Highmark will allocate $3.1 million to the following 2022 'Blue Fund' recipients:

    • Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology, $150,000 to support the Adult Workforce Training in High-Demand Allied Health Professions program, which will train up to 75 underemployed adults for careers with family-sustaining wages.
    • Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers, $125,000 to support an after school and summer program supporting at-risk youth and provide nutrition instruction and health and fitness options to help children.
    • Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network Inc., $150,000 to support the enhancement of the Community Health Worker Program to reduce risk factors and empower families to achieve healthy, successful lives.
    • Community Action of Orleans and Genesee, $250,000 to support a county-wide nutritional-health program that will provide low-income families with kitchen kits, nutritional education, and vouchers to redeem locally grown produce.
    • Community Health Center of Buffalo Inc., $250,000 to expand access to comprehensive, affordable health care, with a focus on integrating behavioral health services to address the unmet needs of 6,000 children and adults in Lockport each year.
    • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County, $100,000 to further support the Healthy Corner Store Initiative by empowering and educating youth, adults, and families in under-resourced neighborhoods about healthier food options.
    • D'Youville University, $250,000 to support The Pathways Program, a healthcare workforce training initiative offered to economically disadvantaged people who have historically been excluded from educational and financial opportunity.
    • Endeavor Health Services, $250,000 to support the renovation of the outpatient behavioral health services at the Jesse Nash Health Center located at 608 William St. in East Buffalo.
    • Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Inc., $200,000 to expand case management and extend transportation coordination and housing for people with substance use disorder in Genesee and Orleans counties.
    • Gerard Place, $150,000 to support the Healthy Moms and Babies Club, which provides education and support to pregnant women of color in Buffalo.
    • Groundwork Buffalo Inc., $100,000 to combat food insecurity, vacant lots, brown fields, and food deserts in East Buffalo through education and community gardens.
    • Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, $200,000 to establish the first community-based doula program in the under-served City of Niagara Falls. It will provide doula services, in combination with social determinant of health strategies, to combat disparities resulting from race and income status and to improve childbirth outcomes and maternal health.
    • Open Space Institute Land Trust, $250,000 to create, design and build much-needed green play spaces in Buffalo’s Roosevelt Park. This will provide healthy recreation, exercise, and relaxation, to children and community residents who currently may not have access to the benefits of a well-designed, community-focused green and open space.
    • Ralph Wilson Park Conservancy, $250,000 to support The Play Garden, a community-driven initiative integral to the transformation of Ralph Wilson Park. The project will create a destination playground for active-imaginative play while promoting a strong connection with Buffalo.
    • The Jacobs Institute Inc., $150,000 to address disparities surrounding stroke intervention and outcomes through research in collaboration with UB and Kaleida Health. 
    • Western New York Land Conservancy Inc., $300,000 to support the purchase of a 37-acre farm with Providence Farm Collective where nearly 300 refugee, immigrant, and Black farmers will grow healthy food for their communities; make the farm sustainable; and increase access to healthy food and employment for youth.

    The 'Blue Fund' has invested over $15 million into Western New York since it launched.

    More information can be found here.