Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation supports groups in Boston and throughout the state of Massachusetts in the areas of access to care, affordability of care, and related health issues.

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

IP TAKE: Many 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: Established in 2001, 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 with an initial Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts endowment and has given out millions of dollars in grants. Grantmaking interests include access to health insurance, access to health care, behavioral health, social equity, health, Medicaid, and health reform.

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. 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. Grantseekers 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. Boston and other Massachusetts communities are the geographic areas of focus.

The foundation accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry from nonprofits. 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. The email addresses for program officers are listed on the FAQ page, and the foundation’s phone number is 617-246-6783.

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