Florida Blue Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder awards grants for health, education, human services, arts and culture, and community development in Florida. It is based in Jacksonville and has different deadlines for the various grant programs.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, literacy, health and human services, arts and culture, and community development, advances in the health care system, improved patient care, improved consumer health

IP TAKE:  Here’s a health insurance funder whose support goes far beyond health. Nonprofits outside health should look into their “Build Healthy, Strong Communities” focus.

PROFILE: The Florida Blue Foundation is a health insurance funder affiliated with Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company. It is a separate entity from the insurance company and also the trade name of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation. This funder, on the grantmaking scene since 2001, was formed to address critical health issues in the region.

Based in Jacksonville, Florida, the foundation has four focus areas. Local grants go to education, literacy, health and human services, arts, and culture, and community development. It also funds new health solutions for underserved populations. Florida Blue focuses on workforce shortages and caregiver education to improve patient care. Family wellness in multicultural populations is the focus of its consumer health giving area.

For its “Advance Innovation and Promote Solutions in the Health Care System” program, the foundation set aside around $1.9 million recently to pay for two-year and three-year grants of $80,000 to $10,000 each. For its “Improve Consumer Health” program, it has set aside about $2.4 million for similarly sized and timed grants. In the past, these grant programs have had different application deadlines. It has supported nursing fellowship research to address the nursing shortage in the state of Florida.

Non-health funding has gone out to local nonprofits that serve the birth-to-five demographic through education and literacy efforts. It works with United Way of Northeast Florida for health and human services causes, and it has partnered with Miami HEAT Academy to help at-risk youth.

Florida Blue focuses on boosting the capacity of programs believed to have a lasting impact, rather than approaches that simply serve a high number of people. It funds programs that address the health needs of minority and low-income groups. This often involves funding for local health clinics, programs for the uninsured, and public health outreach efforts. In addition to traditional grants, Florida Blue also gives out Sapphire Awards to recognize community health leaders.

General questions for the foundation can be directed to the staff at 800-477-3736 ext. 63215 or at floridabluefoundation@floridablue.com or communityrelations@floridablue.com. There are over a dozen staff members at the foundation, led by Susan Towler, vice president of the Florida Blue Foundation and executive director of corporate social responsibility for Florida Blue. You can keep up with current foundation news here.

PEOPLE:

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