PHILADELPHIA, PA., Feb. 20, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Independence Blue Cross Foundation announced that it awarded 109 grants in southeastern Pennsylvania during 2013, totaling $4.5 million. The grants targeted four primary areas: increasing access to quality, affordable care in medically underserved areas; bolstering the health care workforce; addressing health priorities; and building healthier communities.
"We are excited to lead sustainable solutions to improve the health and wellness of our neighborhoods in our Foundation's second year. We continue to support programs aimed at resolving our community's most pressing health priorities, including expanding access to care for nearly 200,000 people in underserved areas through partnerships with community health centers, and helping approximately 240 students pursue their nursing education at area nursing schools," said Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the IBC Foundation. "We're also excited that 20 schools in our region are now participating in the IBC Foundation Healthy Futures initiative, launched in October 2012. This is another major step forward in our efforts to improve childhood wellness, reverse the childhood obesity epidemic, and follow national guidance encouraging children to eat right, get fit, and stay well, Healthy Future key components."
Increasing access to quality, affordable care in medically underserved areas
The IBC Foundation has a longstanding commitment to investing in the health care safety net through the Blue Safety Net program. This program funds private, nonprofit community health centers that provide access to quality care in medically underserved areas. In 2013, the IBC Foundation provided more than $2.3 million in funding to 41 health centers, including first-time grants to five organizations:
Bolstering the Health Care Workforce
In 2013, the IBC Foundation provided $1 million in Nurses for Tomorrow grants to 22 area nursing programs to fund graduate and undergraduate nursing scholarships to strengthen the nursing workforce through education, career development, and research. The Foundation also provided summer internships for 25 undergraduate nursing students who spent 10 weeks working in a Foundation-supported community health center or providing health and wellness counseling at IBC.
Addressing Health Priorities
In addition to these grants, the IBC Foundation launched a groundbreaking new initiative in 20 elementary schools throughout southeastern Pennsylvania called Healthy Futures. The IBC Foundation Healthy Futures Initiative is a three-year, $3 million innovative, comprehensive, collaborative approach to improve childhood health and wellness. The Foundation's goal is to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in our communities and build bright and healthy futures for generations to come. The Foundation provided $680,500 in funding in 2013 to this initiative including first-time grants to:
Other partners in this Healthy Futures initiative include: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Vetri Foundation for Children, Fit Essentials, Philadelphia Union, and Drexel University.
Building Healthier Communities
Through its Building Healthy Communities grant program, the IBC Foundation seeks to partner with community organizations offering programs that improve the health and wellness of the people of southeastern Pennsylvania. In 2013, the IBC Foundation provided $356,090 in funding to 15 organizations, including the following new recipients:
Neighborhood Strategies to National Solutions Conference
In addition to funding, the IBC Foundation provides interactive opportunities for national health experts and leaders to join together in dialogue and partnerships to leverage their experience in addressing common community health challenges.
"In September, our Neighborhood Strategies to National Solutions Conference explored how nursing, community health care, and healthcare organizations can work more collaboratively for the benefit of the entire community. It generated excellent ideas and discussion about ways to best prepare community health professionals for the post health care reform era. It also highlighted successful regional strategies that can be replicated nationally," said Marshall-Blake.
About the Independence Blue Cross Foundation
The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is a charitable, private foundation, whose mission is leading solutions for a healthier community. The foundation targets the following areas of impact:
Learn more by visiting our website: www.ibxfoundation.org. Connect with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation on Twitter at @ibxfdn.
A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=23708
Media Contacts: Ruth Stoolman Independence Blue Cross Ruth.Stoolman@ibx.com 215-241-4807 (office) 215-280-3335 (cell)