Foundation announces grants to be awarded to schools, nonprofits

Special to The Banner News

The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas announced Wednesday 47 grants are being awarded in 2023 to public schools, universities and nonprofit groups in Arkansas totaling $3.38 million. The grants will directly impact each of the state's 75 counties, funding projects focused on:

• Behavioral health resources

• Social determinants of health

• Maternal and pediatric health needs

• Health equity

• Whole person health

• Medical condition innovation

The Blue & You Foundation is a charitable foundation established and funded by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield to promote better health in the Natural State.

"These grants will fund dozens of projects touching Arkansans all over the state -- from supporting the Arkansas Suicide Prevention Hotline to providing recreational therapy to youth aging out of foster care, the 2023 grants will impact Arkansans in a powerful way." said Rebecca Pittillo, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation. "The organizations that we have funded are focused on improving the lives of people in our communities, which is also our goal at the Blue & You Foundation."

Last year, the Blue & You Foundation funded 41 initiatives in Arkansas through its annual grants totaling $3,360,327.

Additional funds will be awarded in 2023 through the Foundation's mini grant program. Applications for mini grants, up to $2,000 each, will open on January 1.

"This is another grant opportunity for schools, colleges, universities, nonprofit groups and municipal organizations to receive much-needed funds to help advance their projects and initiatives," Pittillo said. "These grants will be awarded to groups looking to fund safety equipment, school health initiatives and efforts to end food insecurity."

Mini grant applications should be submitted no later than February 15. For more information on the Blue & You grant process or to apply, visit blueandyoufoundationarkansas.org.

2023 Grants

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Little Rock ($50,000) – to provide a suicide prevention program in five school districts in Baxter, Crawford and Garland counties.

Arch Ford Educational Service Cooperative, Plumerville ($79,714.69) – to create a model agricultural program in schools in Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Van Buren and Yell counties. The funds will allow the Coop to provide the schools materials to create gardens, greenhouses, animal husbandry materials and equipment to allow them to teach healthy food and lifestyle choices.

Arkansas Cancer Coalition, Little Rock ($20,000) – to allow them to continue to provide mobile cancer screenings via the Arkansas Minority Health Commission's Mobile Health Unit across Arkansas.

Arkansas Foodbank, Little Rock ($83,794) – to fund a Community Health Worker salary to manage a program called More Than Food -- Moving from Transactional to Transformation. The program was created to help people in Phillips, Monroe, Lee and Arkansas counties become food secure long-term.

Arkansas Hospice, Inc., Little Rock ($140,100) – to provide palliative and advanced primary and hospice care using telehealth in 43 Arkansas counties.

Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Little Rock ($92,363) – to fund a program targeting 25 Alliance partners around Arkansas, providing the people they serve with the skills and education to stretch their food budgets while making healthy choices, as well as connecting them with access to food resources.

Arkansas Imagination Library, Little Rock ($10,080) – to fund the Books from Birth program. The statewide initiative will bring Dolly Parton's Imagination Library initiative into the state's two largest birthing hospitals to promote enrollment and encourage literacy, parental involvement and education starting at birth.

Arkansas Rural Health Partnership, Lake Village ($150,000) – to provide mental health first aid training to Arkansas first responders and other healthcare workers, enabling them to provide additional resources to children and adults in the state.

Arkansas State University System Foundation, Jonesboro ($136,250) – for the Foundation's Diversifying our Curing Community program, assisting minority students who aspire to go on to medical school.

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Little Rock ($101,052) – to provide music engagement opportunities to patients at Arkansas Children's Hospital and to nursing home residents

Centers for Youth and Families, Little Rock ($149,483) – to provide integrated medical and behavioral healthcare to adults in Pulaski County through a mobile healthcare unit and a Primary Care Clinic.

Compassion Ministries, Ltd., Springdale ($12,577.30) – to provide case management, parenting education, housing and other services to pregnant and parenting teens in crisis.

Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center, Hot Springs ($31,224) – funding a school-based child abuse prevention program in Clark, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Montgomery, Polk and Saline counties.

Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas, Cossatot ($64,000) – to provide hunger relief and hygiene items for students in need.

Equality Crew, Little Rock ($25,000) – to provide mentor and peer community building for LGBTQ+ youth in Northwest Arkansas.

Goodness Village, Little Rock ($10,000) – to provide short-term housing to cancer patients and their caregivers who travel to Central Arkansas for medical treatments.

Harmony Health Clinic, Little Rock ($46,364.67) – enabling the clinic to expand services to provide more comprehensive medical and behavioral healthcare to uninsured, underserved and homeless Arkansans.

Hispanic Community Services, Inc., Jonesboro ($79,750) – allowing the organization to provide bilingual mental health services and education in Craighead, Crittenden, Green, Independence, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett and Randolph counties.

Immerse Arkansas, Little Rock ($50,000) – to provide youth who are aging out of foster care, experiencing homelessness or trafficking access to recreational activities and other experiences to help them build healthy relationship, develop positive coping skills and build confidence.

Ivy Center for Education, Pine Bluff ($66,867.73) – to fund education, mentorship, and study supplies for students who wish to enter the medical field.

Jefferson Regional Medical Center Foundation, Pine Bluff ($150,000) – to provide cancer screenings and education to residents in Southeast Arkansas.

Lyon College, Batesville ($117,300) – to combine the efforts of Lyon College and the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville initiatives to prevent suicide, provide mental health services and help those in emotional crisis.

McGehee Hospital, Inc., McGehee ($112,250) – to expand its Chronic Care Management program to assure holistic healthcare for individuals in Desha, Arkansas, Chicot, Drew and Lincoln counties – adding telemedicine, social work, and therapy services for patients with chronic conditions.

Neighbor to Neighbor, Pine Bluff ($25,000) – to provide food assistance, specifically protein, to underserved communities in Jefferson County.

Northwest Arkansas Crisis Intervention Center, Inc., Springdale ($70,004.39) – to support the Center's suicide prevention hotline.

Northwest Arkansas Food Bank ($25,000) – to purchase healthy foods for the food bank's mobile pantry program, serving people in Benton, Carroll and Washington counties.

Northwest Arkansas Women's Shelter, Rogers ($29,500) – to provide healthy foods and mental health services to survivors of domestic violence and their children in Benton, Carroll, Madison, and Washington counties.

Our House, Inc., Little Rock ($140,030) – to hire a disability coordinator who, working in partnership with UAMS, will help provide targeted services to Arkansans with disabilities as they work to overcome homelessness.

Ozark Mission Project, Little Rock ($40,000) – to construct wheelchair ramps, porches and stairs for low-income, veteran and disabled residents.

Pack Shack, Cave Springs ($115,000) – to provide nutritious meals to Arkansans in Desha, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Mississippi, Monroe, Nevada, Ouachita, Saline, Sharp, St. Francis and Woodruff counties.

Pediatrics Plus Community Connections, Conway ($31,120) – to provide respite care, resources and support for families raising children with special needs.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas, Little Rock ($70,610) – to provide meals for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House with a critically ill child and to provide meal vouchers to families at UAMS with a child in the NICU.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkoma, Springdale ($26,445) – to provide room and board for families of children receiving care at Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith.

Shepherd's Hope Medical Clinic, Little Rock ($25,000) – to provide health education resources to the Latinx community.

South Arkansas Community College, El Dorado ($68,755.95) – to purchase a high-fidelity pediatric simulation manikin and training for students enrolled in the school's health sciences programs.

Springdale School District, Springdale ($105,115) – to fund the Springdale High School Medical Academy and purchase patient and CPR simulators.

The Call, Little Rock ($16,027.63) – to fund services to meet the immediate mental health needs of foster families.

Union Rescue Mission, Little Rock ($89,675) – to complete two housing units and begin planning eight additional housing units to serve as temporary housing for those recovering from mental health disorders, substance use, alcohol addiction and domestic violence.

United Way of Northwest Arkansas, Inc., Lowell ($79,400) – to expand the Arkansas 211 program, allowing Latinx and Marshallese populations to get linguistically appropriate information about food assistance, behavioral health services and other community programs.

University of Arkansas Foundation, Inc. (ASMSA), Hot Springs ($75,000) – to develop a health education curriculum integrated within STEM fields, farm-to-school activities with hands-on agriculture experiences and exposure to new food options.

University of Arkansas Foundation, Inc. (UAMS), Little Rock ($90,230) – to provide mental health services at 16 primary care clinics across Arkansas and support training of primary care health workers.

University of Arkansas Foundation, Inc. (UAMS), Little Rock ($112,389) – to fund peer support services for patients battling substance use addiction and mental health disorders.

University of Arkansas Foundation, Inc. (UAMS), Little Rock ($149,984) – to support the Family Medicine Parent Partnership Program, designed to help mothers and address maternal depression.

University of Arkansas – Fayetteville School of Social Work, Fayetteville ($73,550) – to evaluate the effectiveness of the school's primary care internship program and the impact of social workers working in a primary care setting.

University of Arkansas Little Rock, Little Rock ($60,200) – to evaluate the effectiveness of the school's primary care internship program and the impact of social workers working in a primary care setting.

University of Central Arkansas, Conway ($51,801) – to fund the university's Interprofessional Therapeutic Activity Program, providing healthcare and support services to adults with dementia or who are at risk for Alzheimer's Disease utilizing students and program faculty.

University of Central Arkansas, Conway ($142,680.90) – to purchase diverse manikins and related equipment for the Nabholz Center for Healthcare Simulation.