BCBSKS grants funds to help Kansas Community Investment Fund

Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 4:10 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (WIBW) - Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is awarding grants to help support the Kansas Community Investment Fund.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas says NetWork Kansas and the Kansas Health Foundation announced it as the first corporate sponsor of the Kansas Community Investment Fund. It said it will ward NetWork Kansas a Blue Health Initiative Trailblazer grant of $150,000 annually over the next three years.

According to BCBSKS, KCIF was launched in January of 2019 through a partnership between NetWork Kansas and KHF. It said KCIF provides loans to for-profit and nonprofit organizations increasing access to care, education attainment, community and civic engagement and promote healthy behaviors. It said since the launch, KCIF has approved loans to 17 projects totaling almost $1 million.

“We are thrilled to receive a Trailblazer grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas,” Steve Radley, President & CEO of NetWork Kansas, said. “Their company is already empowering communities to create innovative solutions to advance the health of Kansas citizens and we’re pleased to work alongside them to increase community investment.”

“The Kansas Health Foundation is excited to bring on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas as the first corporate sponsor of KCIF,” said Deanna Van Hersh, interim executive vice president. “Their commitment to invest in businesses and non-profits across Kansas will help improve the health of Kansans and also strengthen our communities.”

BCBSKS said the Blue Health Initiative Trailblazer grants are awarded to organizations that are actively working to find solutions to address social determinants of health in Kansas communities. It said the main areas of focus include improving access to care and health equity. It said KCIF offers the community-driven approach by empowering local nonprofit and for-profit entrepreneurs to develop answers specific to each community.

“We’re all products of the neighborhoods we grew up in, but we shouldn’t let someone’s environment restrict their ability to live a healthy life,” Matt All, BCBSKS president/CEO, said. “As a Kansas company committed to health, we have a responsibility to help improve wellness and access to healthcare in our local communities. Our partnership with NetWork Kansas and the Kansas Health Foundation will ensure just that.”

According to BCBSKS, the grant will be sued in a handful of ways to support projects in its service area. It said grant examples include technical assistance support for nonprofits and businesses in underserved areas and minority populations as well as project bringing together a diverse group of organizations to create inclusive and healthy community environments.

BCBSKS said it is funding the grant in response to the direct needs presented from the COVID-19 global pandemic. It said KCIF will target the funds toward healthy behaviors, access to care, education attainment and civic and community engagement.

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