Blue & You Foundation awards $3.4 million in grants to improve health

What do a splash pad, a nurse case manager, a cooking class and a telemedicine system have in common?  These are just four examples of health-promoting requests funded by the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas as part of $3,467,872 in annual grant awards for 2020. The grants will fund 40 initiatives in 23 of Arkansas’ 75 counties.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation in 2001. Since then, it has awarded more than $36 million to nonprofits and governmental agencies for 1,922 health-improvement programs in 248 communities and in all 75 counties.

“Our grants this year went to programs throughout the state that address issues and needs that organizations have identified as important to their communities. These include physical and mental health programs for all ages, opportunities to participate in exercise and good nutrition and building the future medical workforce that will care for all our citizens,” said Patrick O’Sullivan, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation.

The 2020 grants, by region: 


  • Girls on the Run of Northwest Arkansas, Bentonville ($5,400) – The Participant Fees Program will provide opportunities for 36 low-income girls to participate in goal-setting and training to run in 5K events.
  • Forrester-Davis Development Center, Clarksville ($4,964) – The Wellness Program will distribute educational materials and supplies regarding oral health, personal hygiene, first aid and nutrition to 181 developmentally disabled individuals.
  • Bost Foundation, Fort Smith ($6,686) – The ArTs at Bost Program will provide art classes and activities for 95 individuals in Sebastian County who have behavioral health challenges or developmental disabilities.
  • Healthy Active Yell, Havana ($150,000) – The Yell County Playground Renovation Program will renovate three Yell County school playgrounds. They will be open for community use when school is not in session.
  • Prairie Grove Elementary School ($10,000) – The Fitness for All Program will purchase and install eight pieces of fitness equipment on a trail that circles the school playground.
  • Mercy Health Foundation Northwest Arkansas, Rogers ($150,000) – The Northwest Arkansas Transitional Year Residency Program will increase access to healthcare for people who live in northwest Arkansas by providing additional medical education opportunities for future physicians.
  • Springdale School District ($150,000) – The Healthy Playground Renovation Program will renovate play areas on five elementary school grounds in Springdale (Bayyari, Knapp, Monitor, Sonora and Walker). These playgrounds will be open to the community when school is not in session. 

North Central

  • City of Big Flat ($53,250) – The Come, Let’s Play Project will build a safe playground for children in the Big Flat area in Baxter County.
  • Clinton School District ($83,796) – The Better Together Program will promote behavioral health and reduce the prevalence of substance abuse among 800 students in grades 5-12.
  • Baxter Regional Medical Center, Mountain Home ($149,997) – The Tele-ICU Upgrade Project will improve workstations and software to provide reliable access to remote patient monitoring and audio/video consulting with physicians and critical-care nurses in north central Arkansas. 

Upper Delta

  • Augusta First United Methodist Church ($10,000) – The Children’s Sack Lunch Program will provide healthy food for 30 children in the Augusta community during the summer and on weekends during the school year.
  • KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Delta, Blytheville ($58,000) – The Playground & Fitness Program will build a safe and secure playground at KIPP Blytheville College Preparatory School.
  • Black River Technical College, Pocahontas ($148,387) – The Nursing Education Expansion Program will purchase a SimMan3G manikin and MedDispense equipment for a new teaching facility that opens in the fall of 2020. 


  • Conway Regional Health Foundation ($150,000) – The Family Medicine Residency Program will recruit and train 12 primary care residents for a three-year program in the Faulkner County area.
  • University of Central Arkansas, Conway ($149,991) – The Nabholz Center for Healthcare Simulation Program will purchase manikins and a medication dispensary system for its simulation center, which is used to train approximately 300 nursing students annually.
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Little Rock ($147,002) – The AR-IMPACT (Improving Multidisciplinary Pain Care and Treatment) Program will continue its multidisciplinary video consultation clinic to aid providers in identifying and using viable pain-management solutions for patients who have opioid use issues.
  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock ($68,357) – The Continuing Education Program will launch and maintain a nationally approved continuing education program to provide opportunities to nursing students, healthcare professionals and emergency response professionals.
  • El Zócalo Immigrant Resource Center, Little Rock ($10,000) – The Health Literacy for English Language Learner Families Program will improve access to healthcare and the quality of communication between families and healthcare providers in central Arkansas.
  • Arkansas Children’s Foundation, Little Rock ($150,000) – The Empowering School Nurses to Care for Diabetes Program will train 250 school nurses in management of diabetes through the Arkansas School Nurse Academies.
  • Arkansas Hospice, Little Rock ($150,000) – The Community Palliative Care for Little Rock Program will build on its successful program in Searcy to implement a new palliative care program in Little Rock for patients facing life-threatening illnesses.
  • City of Little Rock Parks & Recreation ($150,000) – The Murray Park Playground Program will construct a playground in Murray Park, along the Arkansas River, that meets Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
  • Arkansas Immunization Action Coalition, Little Rock ($37,500) – The School-Based Health Center Immunization Program will improve the efficiency of vaccine delivery and documentation in school-based health clinics.
  • Arkansas Council on Economic Education, Little Rock ($23,460) – The Healthy Meals on a Tight Budget Program will use six Cooking Matters workshops to educate 120 pre-K-12 teachers throughout the state on how to prepare nutritious, low-cost meals.
  • Camp Aldersgate, Little Rock ($9,670) – The Playground Renovation Program will expand the camp’s existing accessible playground to serve approximately 400 children and youth with special needs.
  • University of Arkansas Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, Morrilton ($55,000) – The Rural Health Start-Up project will engage approximately 200 rural healthcare stakeholders (representing at least six geographic regions of the state) to collaborate on and advocate for measures that address healthcare needs in rural Arkansas. 

Lower Delta

  • Mainline Health Systems, Dermott ($54,677) – The Diabetic Retinal Assessment Compliance Program will increase the compliance rate of retinal exams by 50% within the diabetic population in southeast Arkansas, by purchasing seven RetinaVue cameras.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Phillips County, Helena-West Helena ($45,382) – The Reducing BMI in Phillips County Youth Program will encourage healthy lifestyles, using the Triple Play Wellness Program and the Recreational Sporting Development Program.
  • Arkansas Rural Health Partnership, Lake Village ($115,075) – The Youth Mental Health First Aid Program will train 30 individuals as instructors to improve youths’ access to mental and behavioral health resources in 12 south Arkansas counties.
  • McGehee Hospital ($150,000) – The Expanding Chronic Care Management (CCM) Program will deploy an expanded CCM team by hiring one nurse and one administrative assistant to serve 300 patients in southeast Arkansas who have chronic health conditions.
  • University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) ($150,000) – The Weevil Save AR Students Program will enhance the UAM Simulation Laboratory by adding simulation equipment, laboratory furnishings, manikins and first-aid responder training equipment. 
  • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) ($139,000) – The Strengthening Program seeks to provide enhanced clinical lab environments for more than 24 nursing students attending UAPB. Funding is for the purchase of the clinical lab equipment and supplies.
  • Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, Pine Bluff ($16,178) – The CrEATe Lab Program will help families in Jefferson County to turn knowledge of dietary choices into meals that they will enjoy and can afford, by offering a nutrition-based, hands-on cooking series.
  • Southeast Arkansas College (SEARK), Pine Bluff ($7,700) – The SEARK College Food Pantry will provide assistance to food-insecure students and their families. 


  • Henderson State University Foundation, Arkadelphia ($149,265) – Henderson State University will enhance its Health Education Simulation Center for 32 nursing students with additional obstetrics/pediatrics simulation equipment.
  • Ashdown Community Foundation ($150,000) – The Ashdown City Park Community Splash Pad project will build a splash pad in the city park, serving the residents of Little River County.
  • South Arkansas Regional Health Center, El Dorado ($10,000) – The El Dorado Express Program will provide reliable and convenient transportation (to and from medical appointments and errands) for seniors in rural Union County.
  • SHARE Foundation, El Dorado ($80,100) – The Palliative Care of South Arkansas Program will provide palliative care services to a minimum of 10 at-home patients in five counties.
  • Glen Rose School District, Malvern ($150,000) – The Glen Rose Community Walk and Play Program will construct a walking track and install playground equipment at Glen Rose Elementary School.
  • Southern Arkansas University (SAU) Foundation, Magnolia ($149,339) – The Tip of the Iceberg: Patient Safety, Opioids and Drug Diversion Among Health Professionals Program will enhance the SAU Science and Simulation Center through the addition of an automated medication dispensary system, iPad technology and faculty training on mental health issues that affect medication safety.
  • Southern Arkansas University Foundation, Magnolia ($19,696) – The SAU Aqua Blue & You Program will purchase water exercise gear, fitness equipment and “hydro exercise” devices to benefit the users of the school’s indoor pool.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas in 2001 as a charitable foundation to promote better health in Arkansas. The Blue & You Foundation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serves the state of Arkansas and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. In its 18 years of operation, the Blue & You Foundation has awarded more than $36 million to more than 1,900 health-improvement programs in Arkansas. 

Founded in 1948, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is the largest health insurer in Arkansas. Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates have more than 2,900 employees. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is comprised of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 106 million members – one in three Americans.

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The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.