How the Blue Shield of California Foundation Divvied Up another $8.8 Million in Grants

It’s somewhat hard to believe that the second quarter of 2014 came to a close already. The Blue Shield of California Foundation recently announced its Q2 funding, which bumps total foundation grantmaking over the $300 million mark since it was established in 2002 (Read Blue Shield of California Foundation: Grants for Health Policy and Access). Second quarter grantmaking reached $8.8 million this year, and a significant portion of grant money was committed to two new focus areas.

These two focus areas are (1) optimizing care teams and (2) behavioral health integration, and both lie within the foundation’s Health Care and Coverage program. Through these two focus areas, BSCF wants to ensure that California’s safety net can adapt to the changing demands and landscape of the future healthcare system.

For this most recent quarter, BSCF committed $4,901,874 to expanding access through care teams and $1.3 million advance behavioral health integration. BSCF made about a dozen grants in each focus area, ranging between $50,000 and $175,000 apiece. An almost equal number of grants were made in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, northern California, central California, and southern California.

Other BSCF were awarded in this grant cycle to address the needs of uninsured Californians, and grantees included Working Partnerships USA in the Bay Area (a $200,000 grant) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles (a $100,000 grant).

Blue Shield also remained committed to preventing domestic violence in this grant cycle, awarding just over $2 million in anti-violence grants. The foundation awarded capacity building and safety net grants to a women’s shelter program in central California and a statewide policy advocacy organization for programming and organizational strengthening programs.

So what does this all mean for nonprofits looking ahead to Q3?

It means that BSCF is being as fair as possible to all areas of the state, so funding is possible and even likely outside the borders of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Since this foundation was established 12 years ago, it's made 4,204 grants including 952 in the Bay Area and 826 in Los Angeles.

These recent figures also indicate that foundation sees the state's greatest health need as increasing the effectiveness of healthcare professionals, and believes that this will lead to the expansion of patient access. Read through the foundation’s recent Request for Applications: Expanding Access Through Team Care document to get a deeper understanding of what BSCF is looking for in new hospital and clinic grantees.

“This three-hundred-million mark symbolizes the years of work that we've put into ensuring our grants have the greatest possible impact for low-income and underserved communities across California," BSCF president and CEO, Peter Long, said in a press release. "As thoughtful stewards of our philanthropic funds, there isn't a moment in which we forget the potential impact of every dollar we have the privilege to give. Investing - in a strategic, meaningful way—in the future of our state's healthcare safety net and domestic violence service providers remains at the heart of our grantmaking this quarter, and beyond."