Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation

OVERVIEW: This health funder supports groups in Boston and throughout the state of Massachusetts in the areas of access and affordability of care. Letters of inquiry are accepted during select time periods.

FUNDING AREAS: Access to health insurance, access to health care, behavioral health, social equity, health

IP TAKE: Lots of Boston groups see this funder’s advocacy and policy support because so many statewide organizations are headquartered in the city. However, access-to-care grants are made throughout the state.

PROFILE: The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation (BCBSMF) is based in Boston and aims to expand access to healthcare for vulnerable and low-income residents of the state. It was founded in 2001 with an initial Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts endowment and has given out over $54 million in grants.

Recent support within Boston has gone to Boston Public Health Commission, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Boston Center for Independent Living, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, and Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery. Recent grants have typically been between $40,000 and $75,000 each. You can view a list of recent grants here. The funder often supports the same health organizations year after year, but it also backs innovative ideas from new groups through its special initiatives program.

The Catalyst Fund offers one-year, non-renewable grants for organizational capacity building. Connecting Consumers with Care offers up to two years of support to get and keep residents enrolled in health insurance. Behavioral health funding seeks to integrate behavioral health care into primary care services. Policy and research grants go to analyze and evaluate access, cost, and delivery of care topics. Social Equity and Health supports human services groups with an eye on advocacy and policy. And the Strengthening the Voice for Access grant category provides two-year grants for general operating support to statewide advocacy organizations.

The foundation does not typically support direct clinical services, demographic-specific funding, or long-term, hospice, or disease-specific care. The funder has been significantly concerned with Medicaid and state and national health reform.

To apply for funding, submit an LOI before the deadlines published on the BCBSMF website. Out-of-cycle LOIs and applications are not considered for funding. The two-step application process is completely online, and the staff is open to grantseeker questions.

Jennifer Lee (Jennifer.Lee@bcbsma.com) is the best contact for Catalyst Fund, Connecting Consumers with Care, and Social Equity and Health grants. Kaitlyn Kenney Walsh (Kaitlyn.KenneyWalsh@bcbsma.com) is the contact for Policy and Research Grants, and Celeste Reid Lee (Celeste.Lee@bcbsma.com) is the contact for Strengthening the Voice for Access and Fostering Effective Integration grants. Audrey Shelto is the foundation’s president.

BCBSMF operates separately from the health insurance company and has its own board of directors. The phone number is 617-246-6783, and the address is 101 Huntington Avenue, Suite 1300, Boston, Massachusetts 02199.

LINKS: