This grant continues the Foundation's longstanding commitment to advancing food system reform to expand access to healthy food, and it aligns with two of the organization's strategic approaches - supporting communities to take action to influence health and advancing policy and systems change.
The Blue Cross NC Foundation was founded in 2000 under the leadership of former Blue Cross NC President and CEO, Bob Greczyn. The organization's first grant - totaling $1 million - was made to East Carolina University's ECUCare program, providing health care services to under-resourced and uninsured communities throughout eastern North Carolina.
Since then, the Foundation has been fortunate to continue partnering with organizations across North Carolina in making the health care system more accessible, addressing childhood obesity, improving access to dental care, supporting community-centered health, and building capacity of the nonprofit sector, among many other pursuits. Today, the sum of these investments in North Carolina communities totals more than $135 million.
This milestone coincides with the expansion of the organization's Community-Centered Health work and the Foundation's growing commitment to improving health equity through a strategy that includes a focus on supporting individuals, organizations, and communities to recognize and act on the root causes of poor health and health inequities.
While a noteworthy moment in the Foundation's history, 1,000 grants is more than a data-point, according to Foundation chairman and Blue Cross NC President and CEO Patrick Conway.
"There is a lot of pride that comes with hitting a milestone like this as an organization," said Conway. "What I think we can take most pride in is the fact that this isn't simply a number. Instead, this is one thousand relationships that have been built around a common goal for a stronger, healthier North Carolina. I look forward to what comes from the next thousand."