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Blue Ribbon Foundation Announces Grants for Access to Care, Healthy Families

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By: Anthony Matrisciano
September 12, 2012

Funding will help seven nonprofits serve more than 1,200 individuals

Wilkes-Barre, PA – Immunizations for the uninsured, health and safety education for at-risk women, and drug prevention for youth are among the areas of need being addressed by grants just awarded by The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Seven grants were approved at the September 11 meeting of The Foundation’s Board of Directors, providing $51,727 in funding to regional nonprofit programs that will serve more than 1,200 individuals.

The Foundation awarded the grants to health education and prevention programs in eight counties 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 help our community health partners serve local families who are at-risk and facing health and safety issues,”said Cynthia A. Yevich, executive director of The Blue Ribbon Foundation.  “We are pleased to be in a position to support critical programs for these individuals.” 

Supporting care for the un/underinsured

In Lackawanna County, the Circle of Care program administered by Maternal and Family Health Services, Inc. (MFHS) promotes healthy birth outcomes through comprehensive prenatal care for un/underinsured pregnant women. More than 80% of these women are considered high-risk maternity clients.  MFHS will use a Foundation grant of $8,950 to provide prenatal case management services to 200 Circle of Care patients in the coming year, ensuring each woman receives an individual needs assessment with referrals, outreach and follow-up as necessary.

Also in Lackawanna County, Scranton Primary Health Care Center, Inc. received a $10,000 Foundation grant to provide immunizations for un/underinsured adults from four counties (Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike and Wyoming).  Uninsured individuals often do not receive recommended immunizations because of the cost, leaving this population at a higher risk for preventable diseases.  The Center will use Foundation funding to purchase nearly 500 doses of vaccine to immunize 190 prenatal patients against influenza, and offer influenza, pneumonia, diphtheria, tetanus and/or whooping cough vaccinations to an additional 210 patients in the coming year.

Supporting healthy children and families

In Clinton County, the Infant Development Program (IDP) received a $7,000 Foundation grant for Stretch n’ Grow, a national, research-based curriculum designed to address childhood obesity in pre-K children through physical movement, healthy nutrition choices, and lessons on safety and hygiene.  IDP will have a certified Stretch n’ Grow instructor visit nine pre-school classrooms in Clinton County every week for 35 weeks, reaching no less than 130 youngsters ages 3 to 5 and their parents/caregivers.

In Lycoming County, Valley Prevention Services (VPS) will use a $5,500 Foundation grant to offer Too Good For Drugs, an evidence-based prevention education program, to 175 first and fifth grade students in the Montgomery Area School District this fall. The 10 lesson curriculum focuses on developing skills to resist peer pressures, goal setting, decision-making, managing emotions, effective communication, and social interactions.

In Luzerne County, the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA offers the C.A.T.C.H. (Coordinated Approach To Child Health) After School Program, an anti-obesity curriculum that has been adopted by YMCA’s across the U.S. with great results.  A Foundation grant of $9,710 will help the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA include 35 low-income, physically at-risk children in the C.A.T.C.H. program this year, ensuring that each child receives at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity and weekly nutrition education sessions for 35 weeks.

For residents of Lackawanna and Susquehanna Counties, a Foundation grant of $4,567 will help provide more than 230 hours of shelter advocate services to 200 at-risk women served by Women’s Resource Center in Scranton. The advocate will meet with each woman to help them prepare a safety plan for themselves and any children in their care, and will also match the family with other agencies for ongoing health and support services.

In Monroe County, Pocono Services for Families and Children (PSFC), the leading Head Start childcare provider in Monroe County, received a $6,000 Foundation grant to deliver health literacy training to 104 Head Start families in the coming year. Created by UCLA and Johnson & Johnson, the training program covers topics such as At-Home Treatment of Common Childhood Illnesses, Reading Prescription Labels, Oral Health, Obesity Prevention, Asthma, and Health Promotion. Nationwide data shows that once trained, families experience a marked decrease in emergency room and clinic visits, as well as the number of school days and work days missed.

Find out more

For more information on The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s upcoming funding cycles, application deadlines and eligibility criteria, please visit, click on Community Initiatives then select The Blue Ribbon Foundation tab.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 540,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.  The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations it serves.

BCNEPA established its private, nonprofit 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.  During its first decade of service, The Foundation has awarded nearly $10 million in grant funding to 170 nonprofits to help meet the health and wellness needs of more than 186,000 at-risk individuals.