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Blue Ribbon Foundation Announces Third Quarter Grants

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October 7, 2010

More than 3,800 low-income, uninsured residents will benefit

October 7, 2010, Wilkes-Barre, PA – Obesity prevention for at-risk youth, dental services for the uninsured, and health programs for homeless women are among the areas of need being addressed by grants recently awarded by The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Six grants were approved at the September meeting of The Foundation board, providing $50,010 in funding to local nonprofits that will serve more than 3,800 individuals.

The Foundation awarded the grants to health education and illness prevention programs across northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. Each project met criteria under one of three grant categories: Health and Wellness Mini-Grants, Health and Wellness Impact Grants, and Access to Care Grants for the Un/Underinsured.

“These grants will make a big difference in the lives of local families who are financially at-risk and facing health and wellness challenges,” said Cynthia A. Yevich, executive director of The Blue Ribbon Foundation.  “We are pleased to support local organizations whose programs provide much-needed services to these individuals.”  

Fighting Childhood Obesity

“Eating Smart - Being Active,” is a research-based nutrition education program designed to teach low-income families with young children about healthy lifestyle choices.  H.A.N.D.S of Wyoming County, in partnership with Penn State Cooperative Extension, will use a $2,610 Foundation grant to provide workshops to 20 pre-qualified parents and caregivers. Topics include preparing healthy and affordable meals, practical shopping, nutritious cooking, food safety and staying active. An additional 100 youngsters, ages 3-to-5, will receive age-appropriate nutrition and physical education sessions at childcare centers across Wyoming County.

This Foundation grant continues Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s leadership role in combating childhood obesity.  BCNEPA is northeastern and north central Pennsylvania’s matching grant funder for the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Active Schools program, which funds structured physical activity programs for students. This year, eight elementary schools within BCNEPA’s 13-county service area will share $80,000 in Active Schools funding from BCNEPA.  More than 3,500 children will benefit.

BCNEPA also recently provided area pediatricians with the Good Health Club Physician Toolkit, which helps pediatric practices proactively address weight issues with parents and children.  These weight issues, if left unchecked, could result in significant long-term medical conditions. 

Dental care for the uninsured

The Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) Dental Clinic provides screenings, services, and oral health education for low-income and uninsured people of all ages.  In January 2011, the Clinic will expand into a state-of-the-art Health and Sciences Center in Nanticoke.  The move is projected to increase the Clinic’s number of uninsured patients by 40 percent. LCCC will use a $12,000 Blue Ribbon Foundation grant to purchase commonly needed dental supplies and serve 745 new patients in the coming year.

Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania (RHC) operates six medical, three dental and one homeless center across Luzerne and Wyoming Counties. The centers serve approximately 18,000 un/underinsured individuals each year, many of whom need dental services. RHC will use $15,000 in Foundation funds to expand its dental program to provide a new preventive treatment to 2,000 un/underinsured patients in the coming year. 

Helping children stay safe

In Wayne County, Victims’ Intervention Program will use a $3,900 Blue Ribbon grant to add Cyber Safety and Internet Harassment Avoidance training to its school-based prevention programming in school districts county-wide. Certified counselors will conduct age-appropriate presentations for 550 fourth grade students during the 2010/2011 academic year.  Topics will include the dangers of disclosing personal information over the Internet, the types of Internet predators, potentially dangerous or suspicious behaviors, and avoidance strategies.

Services for at-risk women

Young women ages 16-to-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of sexual assault.  The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) in Scranton will use a Foundation grant of $6,500 to create and launch a new approach to violence prevention education for young women in Lackawanna County.  Topics will include personal safety and risk reduction, the dynamics of domestic and dating violence, stalking and sexual assault.  Workshops will be conducted in the coming year for 370 age-targeted women at six community sites. 
In Lycoming County, Liberty House is a bridge housing program at the YWCA of Northcentral Pennsylvania that offers residential rooms and case management services to homeless women and their children. Services include referrals for mental health screenings, drug and alcohol counseling, domestic violence prevention education, smoking cessation programs, health screenings, parenting education, and nutrition information. A Foundation grant of $10,000 will maintain nearly 1,000 hours of essential caseworker services for 85 homeless women in the coming year. 

Find out More

The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s funding cycles run quarterly. For more information on funding priorities, application deadlines and eligibility criteria, please visit, and click on The Blue Ribbon Foundation tab.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association headquartered in Wilkes-Barre. It offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to approximately 600,000 individuals in 13 counties in Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania. 

The company’s mission is to provide innovative solutions that support more affordable health care, promote personal accountability for health and wellness, and offer superior service and partnership to employers, members, and providers.

Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania established its private, non-profit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long term health costs for the residents of Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania.

Media Contact:
Anthony Matrisciano