The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas announced this week 41 initiatives in Arkansas will receive grants totaling $3,360,327, that will directly impact 71 of Arkansas’ 75 counties. The Blue & You Foundation is a charitable foundation established and funded by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield to promote better health in Arkansas.
“Eleven of our grants this year focus on education for medical professionals and eight grants address behavioral health, issues that are extremely important to the health of all Arkansans,” said Rebecca Pittillo, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation. “Ten of our grants will reach Arkansans statewide. And because we are very aware of the need for more health equity within our state, eight of our grants focus specifically on minority populations.”
The need for qualified healthcare workers and better access to behavioral health services continue to grow in Arkansas. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults experiences mental illness. And according to the latest state report on healthcare licensures in Arkansas, there were seven counties in the state that only had one primary care physician in 2019, and several had no dentists.
“The Blue & You Foundation has been focused for the past two years on supporting urgent needs that arose due to the pandemic,” said Pittillo. “The COVID-19 pandemic definitely elevated new health-related needs and emphasized existing needs in our state – social determinants that we hope these grants will positively impact.”
Since 2001, the Blue & You Foundation has awarded more than $45 million to nonprofits and governmental agencies in all 75 counties. Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted April 15 through July 15, 2022. Grants will range from $5,000 to $150,000. Blue & You Foundation training sessions for grant writing will be offered in March of 2022. For more information on trainings and the Blue & You grant process, visit blueandyoufoundationarkansas.org.
Arkansas Children’s Foundation, Little Rock ($150,000) – aimed at reducing infant mortality by educating parents on safety risks.
Arkansas Foodbank, Little Rock ($89,908) – to help teach community members to become more food secure by educating them on healthy eating, how to become self-sufficient and providing support.
Arkansas Harm Reduction Project, Little Rock ($143,300) – to further their efforts to prevent opioid overdoses and deaths by distributing Naloxone to those battling addiction, their families and others in the community.
Arkansas Rural Health Partnership, Lake Village ($150,000) – to increase mental health resources for 12- to 18-year-olds living in rural parts of the state. At least 5,200 people will be trained to provide mental health and suicide prevention assistance.
Arkansas State University System Foundation, Jonesboro ($128,720) – to provide mentoring, cohort building and financial assistance to underrepresented minority students in premedical curriculum.
Arkansas STEM Coalition, Little Rock ($51,758) – aimed at educating eighth-grade students on health science careers.
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Little Rock ($5,000) – to provide music engagement for patients at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Arkansas Tech University Foundation, Russellville ($68,549) – to install pediatric simulation equipment in the Arkansas Tech University/Ozark Campus Simulation Lab.
Ashdown Community Foundation, Inc., Ashdown ($150,000) – to construct the Ashdown City Park Inclusive Playground.
Baptist Health Foundation, Little Rock ($115,000) – to begin a Patient Care Tech Program at the Baptist Health College in Little Rock.
Black River Technical College, Pocahontas ($149,483) – to construct a one-and-a-half mile walking trail connecting the campus.
Cherry Valley Food Pantry, Cherry Valley ($5,000) – to purchase food for 70 to 80 families each week.
City of Cotter, Cotter ($31,224) – for the establishment of the Cotter Warrior Park Family Health Fit Zone, providing fun and challenging outdoor equipment for children and teens. It will also offer therapeutic and fitness classes for all ages.
City of Hampton, Hampton ($6,000) – to purchase a slide and other playground equipment for children in the city of Hampton and Calhoun County.
City of Little Rock, Little Rock ($150,000) – for the creation of a behavioral health initiative at Watson Elementary and enhance behavioral health outreach to families in four community schools.
Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House, Fort Smith ($5,000) – to ease transportation barriers for disadvantaged cancer patients needing treatment.
Garland County Imagination Library, Mount Ida ($8,000) – to purchase a book each month for 320 children up to 5 years old.
Girl Scouts – Diamonds, Little Rock ($11,340) – to create a robust STEM program within Girl Scouts, designed to encourage them to pursue careers that will improve the health of people in their communities.
Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, Little Rock ($25,000) – to provide training for 30 students seeking their certification as a Clinical Medical Assistant.
Hispanic Community Services Inc., Jonesboro ($39,633) – to offer bilingual classes and host discussions regarding a variety of mental health topics. Wrap-around services will also be available.
Immerse Arkansas, Little Rock ($50,000) – to provide recreational therapy to at least 200 youth in or emerging from the foster care system, funding the purchase of equipment, activities and staff.
Ivy Center for Education, Pine Bluff ($35,384) – aimed to increase the number of qualified African American males in medical doctor programs by exposing them to the medical sciences before they enter college.
Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Pine Bluff ($149,201) – for a comprehensive, continuous, and inclusive cancer screening program to increase screenings for an underserved population and reduce cancer deaths in Southeast Arkansas using synergistic relationships and resources.
Jefferson Regional Medical Center Foundation, Pine Bluff ($150,000) – to replace simulation equipment used to train healthcare workers at Jefferson School of Nursing.
Little Rock School District, Little Rock ($8,250) – to establish a school garden at Mann Magnet Middle School which will educate students on the benefits of nutritious foods.
Neighbor to Neighbor, Pine Bluff ($36,000) – to purchase a walk-in freezer for its food pantry.
North Arkansas College, Harrison ($149,554) – to purchase obstetric simulation equipment and provide cardiac monitor/defibrillator training for EMTs and paramedics.
Northwest Arkansas Crisis Intervention Center, Springdale ($5,000) – to purchase a text messaging service to serve as a crisis line for those in behavioral health emergencies.
Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter, Rogers ($25,000) – to purchase food for the shelter food pantry and provide pantry start-up kits for shelter residents moving into their own homes.
Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia ($131,000) – to develop a skills laboratory and simulation center at Ouachita Baptist University for its Bachelor of Science in nursing program.
Ozark Mission Project, Little Rock ($25,000) – for the construction of wheelchair ramps, porches and stairs for low-income, veteran and disabled residents.
Pangburn Public Schools, Pangburn ($38,334) for the construction of three playgrounds for elementary students.
Ronald McDonald House, Little Rock ($62,450) – to provide meals for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House with a critically ill child.
SHARE Foundation, El Dorado ($150,000) – to expand palliative care services in Union, Ouachita, Calhoun, Columbia and Bradley counties.
Southern Arkansas University Tech, East Camden ($148,758) – to provide phlebotomy and pharmacy tech training to underrepresented, minority and marginalized persons in the Delta Region.
Union Rescue Mission, Little Rock ($147,200) – to provide temporary housing and mental health support for shelter residents as they transition out of Nehemiah House and Dorcas House.
United Way of Northwest Arkansas, Inc., Lowell ($56,400) – to expand the Arkansas 211 program, allowing Latinx populations to get linguistically appropriate information about food assistance, behavioral health services and other community programs.
University of Arkansas at Monticello, Monticello ($150,000) – to upgrade newborn, infant, adult and geriatric manikins used during skills training for nursing students.
University of Arkansas Fort Smith Foundation, Fort Smith ($150,000) – to replace outdated equipment at the UAFS Dental Hygiene Clinic.
University of Arkansas Foundation, Inc., Little Rock (UAMS) ($62,000) – for the creation of a behavioral health integration training curriculum for social workers, psychologists and other mental health professionals at 19 UAMS primary care clinics.
University of Arkansas Foundation, Inc., Little Rock (UAMS) ($147,791) – to train 18 family medicine residencies in Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD), making it more widely available for underserved population.