Premera Awards $2.2 Million to Organizations Working in Health Equity, Behavioral Health and Homelessness

Mountlake Terrace, Wash., Nov. 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Premera Blue Cross through its Social Impact program today announced $2.2 million in grants made to 22 organizations in Washington and Alaska focused on behavioral health and homelessness solutions and improving health equity.

Health equity, behavioral health and homelessness have been key focus areas of Premera’s philanthropic work since the inception of its Social Impact program in 2017. This group of grantees’ work ranges from trauma care for students in the Black community, to housing and behavioral health support for families experiencing homelessness, to transitional housing for teens.

“These organizations are addressing some of the most challenging issues our communities face,” said Paul Hollie, head of Premera Social Impact. “When individuals and families feel safe, supported, and are connected to critical resources, it helps them have more stable and healthier lives. In turn, this helps their communities flourish and become more vibrant overall.”

Among the grant recipients are:

AK Youth Force in Fairbanks, Alaska will receive $25,000 to help fund a mental health support program for youth ages 12-19. Through workshops and partnerships with local organizations, AK Youth Force aims to help youth build long-lasting relationship skills while supporting their positive socioemotional development and healthy transitions into adulthood.

The Carl Maxey Center in Spokane, Wash., will receive $50,000 to support programs and services focused on addressing the unmet health equity needs of Spokane’s Black community, which is impacted by racial disparities in almost all social determinants, including a life expectancy that is among the lowest in Spokane county.

“When a community is in survival mode, as the Black community currently is, it can only focus on the symptoms of racism,” said Sandy Williams, Carl Maxey Center Executive Director. “An empowered and well-equipped community, however, is better able to focus its attention and efforts on racism’s root causes and on identifying and developing the strategies that are necessary to dismantle systemic barriers. All of the Carl Maxey Center’s efforts are focused on building power within Spokane’s Black community.”

HopeSparks in Tacoma, Wash., will receive $75,000 to support its Building Futures campaign, which will help the organization meet the increasing need for infant and early childhood mental health and early intervention services. HopeSparks is a recognized leader in Pierce County in behavioral health, early intervention, family support services, kinship care, home-visiting and the integration of mental health and physical health for children and families.

Together Center in Redmond, Wash., will receive $350,000 to develop affordable housing and a full suite of wrap-around services together in one transit-adjacent location, aiming to keep people housed and cohesively address health inequities for East King County’s ethnically and socioeconomically diverse population.

Vine Maple Place in Maple Valley, Wash., will receive $300,000 to fund evidence-based behavioral health programs for families in deep crisis and increase capacity to reach 53 percent more moms and kids in the next two years.

Volunteers of America of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho in Spokane, will receive $350,000 to increase the capacity of its Crosswalk teen shelter and Supportive Independent Living Program (SILP), which addresses gaps in programs for 16 and 17 year olds who can't go home because of safety reasons and for whom foster care is not an option due to a lack of foster homes willing to take older adolescents.

Additional grant recipients include:

·         Alliance For Education, King County, Wash., $50,000

·         American Heart Association, Anchorage Borough, Alaska, $25,000

·         Associated Recreation Council, King County, Wash., $25,000

·         Atlantic Street Center, King County, Wash., $100,000

·         Attain Housing, King County, Wash., $63,000

·         Community Foundation of Snohomish County, Wash., $75,000

·         Congregations for the Homeless, King County, Wash., $100,000

·         Conquer COVID Coalition, Anchorage Borough, Alaska, $25,000

·         Friends of the Children – Seattle, King County, Wash., $50,000

·         New Beginnings, King County, Wash., $15,000

·         Plymouth Housing, King County, Wash., $300,000

·         Providence Institute for a Healthier Community, Snohomish County, Wash., $5,000

·         Rod’s House, Yakima County, Wash., $50,000

·         Vision House, King County, Wash., $205,000

·         Washington Alliance for Better Schools, King County, Wash., $10,000

·         YMCA of Greater Seattle, King County, Wash., $10,000

 Since 2017, Premera Social Impact has invested more than $70 million in more than 350 nonprofits focused on behavioral health, homelessness, adverse childhood experiences, rural health and health equity for minority populations. To learn more about Premera Social Impact, read the company’s Social Impact Report.

Premera Social Impact invites other 501(c)(3) community organizations to learn more about grantmaking on its website.

About Premera Blue Cross
Premera Blue Cross is a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, providing comprehensive health benefits and tailored services to about 2.5 million people, from individuals to Fortune 100 companies. For more information, visit


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