Blue Cross Foundation Releases Updated Information About $10 Million Louisiana Challenge Grant Program
More than 110 letters of intent submitted for “Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana”
The letters of intent have been submitted for Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana, a $10 million statewide challenge grant program presented by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation (BCBSLAF) in partnership with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. The challenge grant program aims to reduce the rising obesity rate across Louisiana, by providing financial support to innovative programs that promote healthy eating and active living.
There have been 112 letters of intent submitted by groups across the state, says Christy Reeves, director of the BCBSLAF. “We are thrilled that so many organizations have shown an interest in the challenge grant program and are submitting plans,” Reeves says. “Curbing obesity in Louisiana is a major task. The more groups willing to work on this public health concern, the better.”
To apply for a Challenge Grant, organizations were instructed to submit a letter of intent by Jan. 13, 2012, to be considered during the review process. Of the 112 submissions, 42 came from the New Orleans area (which includes the Northshore), 22 came from the Baton Rouge region, 14 were from statewide organizations, 11 were from multi-regions (but not statewide), 9 were from the Monroe region (which includes Alexandria), 7 were from the Shreveport area, 5 were from the Lafayette region and 1 each were from the Lake Charles area and from a region to be determined.
Project ideas include the development of a healthy living community with monthly educational festivals; a summer camp for overweight youth; improving walking paths connected to parks and schools; free health screenings for at-risk adults; public cooking and nutrition demonstrations; pop-up mobile markets to provide fresh produce to low-income neighborhoods; and, the creation of a working urban farm to host an affordable farmers market.
Other facts about the challenge grant program:
- Since the announcement of the Challenge on Sept. 14, 2011, BCBSLAF has held 8 introductory workshops across the state for interested applicants.
- BCBSLAF hosted 273 attendees during the workshops, with an average of 34 attendees per workshop.
- These individuals represented 174 unique organizations from across the state of Louisiana, with 17 attending without an affiliation.
- BCBSLAF will hold technical workshops February – April 2012 for applicants who submitted a letter of intent by the January deadline.
- Only those who submitted a formal letter of intent are eligible to submit a full application. The deadline for full applications is April 30, 2012.
- Between May – June 2012, the grant applications will be reviewed by an expert panel.
- In mid-June 2012, the panel’s recommendations will be presented to the BCBSLAF Board.
About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is building a healthier Louisiana through community outreach and charitable giving. Its two signature programs are The Angel Award, an annual statewide recognition program that awards funds to outstanding Louisianians working to improve the quality of life of the state’s children, and Smart Bodies, an interactive education program to prevent childhood obesity. In addition, Blue Cross contributes nearly $2 million annually in financial aid to various non-profit organizations throughout the state that contribute to health, education and the overall quality of life in our communities. When we put dollars into Blue Cross communities, it makes Louisiana a better place for everyone. The Foundation is funded solely through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is the oldest and largest Louisiana-based health insurance company. Blue Cross is a private, fully taxed mutual company, owned by policyholders—not shareholders—and governed by a local Board of Directors. It is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
The company provides group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to more than one out of every four Louisiana residents. With headquarters in Baton Rouge and eight district offices, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana employs more than 1,900 Louisianians who are committed to improving the lives of its customers by providing them with health guidance and affordable access to quality care.
Learn more on the company’s website at www.bcbsla.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bluecrossla. Follow Blue Cross on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BCBSLA and CEO Mike Reitz at www.twitter.com/MikeReitzCEO.