Blue & You Foundation awards $2.3 million in grants to improve health | Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue & You Foundation awards $2.3 million in grants to improve health

LITTLE ROCK – From walking trails and playgrounds, to feeding programs, to training medical providers, the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas touches the lives of many Arkansans. The Foundation recently awarded a total of $2,302,347 in grants to 40 health improvement programs in Arkansas.

“Our grants this year went to programs across the state that address such issues as nutrition and exercise, food insecurity, emergency medical services and medical professional education,” said Patrick O’Sullivan, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation in 2001 as a charitable foundation to promote better health in Arkansas. The foundation awards grants annually to non-profit or governmental organizations and programs that positively affect the health of Arkansans.

In its 16 years of operation, the Blue & You Foundation has awarded more than $30 million to 1,319 health improvement programs in Arkansas.

The grants awarded for 2018 are:

Arkansas Children’s Foundation, Little Rock ($150,000) – Stop the Bleed Program will purchase 300 bleeding control kits and train 150 school nurses in use of the kits.

Arkansas Farm Bureau Foundation, Little Rock ($65,150) – MASH and CHAMPS Summer Camps Program will provide 10 camps for 150 high school students to encourage them to enter the healthcare field as a career.

Arkansas Immunization Action Coalition, Little Rock ($150,000) – The Coalition will promote and sponsor statewide immunization programs and provide mini-grants to providers to assist with administering immunizations.

Arkansas State University, Mountain Home ($63,296) – SimMom Comes to ASUMH Program will purchase a SimMom advanced full-body birthing simulator for nurse training.

Baptist Health Foundation, Little Rock ($60,000) – Healthy Active Arkansas Baby Friendly Hospital Program will promote the benefits of breastfeeding by providing certified lactation training to 75 healthcare workers and encouraging hospitals to achieve the Baby Friendly designation.

Brighter Tomorrow Foundation, Arkadelphia ($5,000) – The Community Garden Program will provide healthy produce for 200 people in Clark County. 

Camp Aldersgate, Little Rock ($9,235) – The project will purchase special wheelchairs to increase safety and independence during pool activities and shower time for special needs campers.

City of Eudora ($8,076) – AED Stay Alive Program will provide Automated External Defibrillators for five locations in Eudora in Chicot County.

City of Hampton ($15,000) – The city in Calhoun County will resurface its existing walking trail in need of repair.

City of Little Rock ($144,000) – The Little Rock Zoo will build a Nature Play Sensory Garden and Trail to encourage its 300,000 annual visitors to engage in outdoor activities and connect to nature.

City of Mansfield ($85,015) – The community will build a walking trail in City Lake Park for its Sebastian and Scott County residents.

City of Paragould ($116,378) – The Paragould Parks and Recreation Department will purchase and install an all-accessible playground for the children and families in Greene County.

City of Peach Orchard ($5,000) – The city will encourage exercise in its Clay County community by adding benches and handicapped parking to an existing trail in its city park.

Conway Cradle Care, Conway ($6,550) – The Healthy Meals on a Budget Program will provide healthy meal preparation and kitchen starter kits to 50 young parents in Faulkner and Perry Counties.

County Line Elementary School, Branch ($20,000) – The school in Franklin County will resurface its playground with rubber mulch for improved safety.

Criminal Justice Institute, Little Rock ($125,000) – The Naloxone Emergency Response Project will purchase Naloxone kits for 1,150 law enforcement officers in 14 Arkansas police and sheriff’s departments and train them in administering the life-saving drug to individuals experiencing an opioid overdose.

Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas, Jonesboro ($48,000) – The Expanded Fresh Produce Distribution Program will acquire approximately 240,000 pounds of fresh produce for 12,000 individuals at risk for hunger.

Harrison Noon Lions Club ($5,000) – The Vision Program will provide 70 adults and children with eye exams and glasses.

Henderson State University Foundation, Arkadelphia ($5,000) – The Campus Community Health Matters Program will improve the health of faculty, staff and students by providing health screenings and educational events on campus.

Hot Spring County, Malvern ($59,342) – This program will purchase 100 self-contained breathing apparatus units and 50 oxygen bottles for 100 volunteer firefighters.

Little Rock School District ($117,460) – The EXCEL Advanced Medical Sciences Program will offer 80 students across five schools with opportunities to gain college credit, employment skills and professional certifications by participating in a medical studies course.

Loaves and Fishes Food Bank of the Ozarks, Berryville ($10,000) – Food for Hungry Kids Program will provide weekend food packs to children in Berryville and Green Forest who are on reduced and free school lunch program.

Mercy Health Foundation Northwest Arkansas, Rogers ($150,000) – Internal Medicine Residency Program will provide the salary for 10 new Internal Medicine residents and provide healthcare services to 1,700 patients in Northwest Arkansas.

Museum of Discovery, Little Rock ($76,335) – Tinkering to a Healthier You Program will create a traveling exhibit about healthy eating for 16 network member institutions across Arkansas.

North Little Rock Mayor’s Youth Council ($5,000) – The Giving Ground Program will build a garden to teach teens about gardening, the skills needed for a successful harvest and to donate food to low-income families.

Ozark Mission Project, Little Rock ($25,000) – Summer Mission Camps Program will complete 500 safety related home repair projects for over 300 low-income, elderly or disabled families in 12 different communities throughout Arkansas.

Ozarka College, Melbourne ($49,334) – Community Obesity Prevention Fitness and Nutrition Program will purchase cardio equipment for the fitness center, conduct obesity prevention education seminars for the community and establish a workplace wellness initiative for college employees.

Perryville Elementary School ($7,200) – Backpack Program will send fresh fruit, vegetables and simple-to-prepare-food home with needy students in Perry County.

Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, Stuttgart ($10,000) – Heart Saver Instruction Program will provide CPR/First Aid/AED training to students within the college service area including northern Arkansas County, Prairie, Lonoke and Monroe Counties.

Project HOPE Food Bank, Hot Springs ($35,000) – School Backpack Program will close the nutritional gaps caused by food insecurity, by providing backpacks filled with food for food-insecure children.

River Valley Food 4 Kids, Russellville ($5,000) – Holiday Food 4 Kids Program will feed 1,000 under-resourced children in Pope and Yell Counties during the school winter break.

Southeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative Foundation, Monticello ($19,925) – Southeast Arkansas Delta Coordinated School Health Project will provide PE teacher training, oral health kits and health promotion materials for students.

Southern Arkansas University Tech, Camden ($149,950) – Educating Nurses for the Future Program will improve the training and completion rate of 60 or more students by upgrading the program’s labs to a more advanced simulation-based learning experience and provide assistance in preparing for the RN entrance exam.

Southwest Arkansas Counseling & Mental Health Center, Texarkana ($28,500) – Safety First Program will purchase nine AEDs and provide CPR training for staff at the centers.

Springdale School District ($38,500) – J.B. Hunt Elementary and Springdale Community Joint Use Trail Project will replace the old, unsafe trail with a new trail that accesses the regional Razorback Greenway trail system to bring exercise opportunities to the school and community.

Stop the Bleeding Foundation, Jonesboro ($149,334) – The program will purchase 600 individual first aid kits to train, certify and equip 600 Northeast Arkansas Trauma Zone police officers and firefighters to provide life-saving care in the field.

UAMS, Little Rock ($104,169) – Simulation Outreach to Address Patient Safety Program will expand on interventions targeted at two Delta community hospitals and focus on training hospital clinical staff to improve patient safety and reduce deaths and costs from sepsis infections.

UAMS, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, Little Rock ($126,303) – Healthy Active Arkansas: Leveraging the HAA Statewide Learning Network Program will continue the advancement of the HAA Statewide Learning Network through additional regional meetings, by using a “train the trainer” approach to provide resources and support to community leaders to plan and lead their own regional meetings to reduce obesity.

University of Arkansas Fort Smith Foundation ($30,295) – After School Smilz Program will provide preventive dental services to at-risk children from low-income families in the Fort Smith area that lack access to dental care.

University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College, North Little Rock ($20,000) – Ambulance Simulator Program will move the ambulance simulator from UAMS to PTC and renovate the classroom for EMS students’ use.

The Blue & You Foundation received 226 grant applications requesting $14 million in support. The 2018 grant selections were made by Blue & You Foundation board members: Susan Brittain, Malvern; Robert V. Brothers, Lowell; Robert D. Cabe, chairman of the board, Little Rock; Mark Greenway, Lowell; James V. Kelley, Little Rock; Carla Martin, Pine Bluff; and Dan Nabholz, Conway. 

The application deadline for the foundation’s next funding cycle is July 16, 2018. For more information about the grant application process, visit the foundation website at

The foundation is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and serves the state of Arkansas. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization.

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Founded in 1948, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest health insurer in Arkansas. Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates have more than 2,700 employees. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is comprised of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans that collectively provide health care coverage for 100 million — nearly one in three — Americans.

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