Wichita, Kansas -- NetWork Kansas and the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) announced today the first corporate sponsor for the Kansas Community Investment Fund (KCIF) is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBCKS). BCBSKS will award NetWork Kansas a Blue Health Initiative Trailblazer grant totaling $150,000 annually for the next three years.
Launched in January 2019 through a partnership between NetWork Kansas and KHF, KCIF provides loans to for-profit and nonprofit organizations that increase access to care, education attainment, community and civic engagement, and promote healthy behaviors. Since the launch, KCIF has approved loans to 17 projects totaling nearly $1 million.
“We are thrilled to receive a Trailblazer grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas,” Steve Radley, President & CEO of NetWork Kansas, said. “Their company is already empowering communities to create innovative solutions to advance the health of Kansas citizens and we’re pleased to work alongside them to increase community investment.”
“The Kansas Health Foundation is excited to bring on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas as the first corporate sponsor of KCIF,” said Deanna Van Hersh, interim executive vice president. “Their commitment to invest in businesses and non-profits across Kansas will help improve the health of Kansans and also strengthen our communities.”
Blue Health Initiative Trailblazer grants are awarded to organizations who are actively working to find solutions to address the social determinants of health in Kansas communities. The main areas of focus include improving access to care and health equity. The Kansas Community Investment Fund offers this community driven approach by empowering local nonprofit and for-profit entrepreneurs to develop solutions specific to each community.
“We’re all products of the neighborhoods we grew up in, but we shouldn’t let someone’s environment restrict their ability to live a healthy life,” Matt All, BCBSKS president/CEO, said. “As a Kansas company committed to health, we have a responsibility to help improve wellness and access to healthcare in our local communities. Our partnership with NetWork Kansas and the Kansas Health Foundation will ensure just that.”
The grant will be used in a variety of ways to support projects in the BCBSKS service area. Grant examples include technical assistance support for nonprofits and businesses in underserved areas and minority populations, as well as projects that bring together a diverse group of organizations to create inclusive healthy community environments. BCBSKS is funding this grant in response to the direct needs presented from the COVID-19 global pandemic. KCIF will target the funds toward healthy behaviors, access to care, education attainment, and civic and community engagement.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
For more than 75 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has built a reputation of trust with its members and contracting providers by providing outstanding customer service while quickly and accurately processing claims; fairly administering benefit plans and contracts; offering programs, services and tools to help members improve or maintain their health; and operating under the highest ethical standards while being good stewards of premium dollars. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and is the state’s largest insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information, visit bcbsks.com.
About the Kansas Health Foundation:
The Kansas Health Foundation is based in Wichita, but statewide in its focus. With a mission to improve the health of all Kansans, KHF envisions a culture in which every Kansan can make healthy choices where they live, work and play. To achieve this, KHF focuses its work in four impact areas: access to affordable health care, healthy behaviors, civic and community engagement and educational attainment. During its 30-year history, KHF has provided more than $500 million in grants to Kansas communities and organizations and looks forward to working toward its mission and vision for many years to come. For more information about KHF, visit kansashealth.org.
About NetWork Kansas:
NetWork Kansas, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is dedicated to making entrepreneurship a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas. NetWork Kansas connects aspiring entrepreneurs, emerging and established businesses, to a deep network of business-building and community development resource organizations across the state. NetWork Kansas is also the home of e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (e2). e2 provides best practice solutions to entrepreneurial ecosystem building in Kansas and nationally.
NetWork Kansas facilitates the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem within participating communities through the ECommunity Partnership. Contributing factors to successful development include availability of financial capital, support by local leadership and development of educational resources. All of these factors combine to increase entrepreneurial activity in participating towns, leading to increased startup activity, business expansion, job creation and more.
For more information about NetWork Kansas, visit www.networkkansas.com.