Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Awards 2015 Community Health Grant to McAuley Ministries

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is awarding one of six 2015 BlueAngel Community Health Grants (BACHG) to McAuley Ministries. McAuley Ministries will be awarded $30,000 to begin their new Get Fit McAuley! program. Through nutrition education, cooking instruction, and greater access to physical activity, Get Fit McAuley! will encourage healthier lifestyles for formerly homeless mothers and their children living in McAuley Village, as well as Head Start youth in the McAuley Village Child Care Learning Center. Currently, eight in ten preschool-aged children either living at McAuley Village or enrolled in the Village’s childcare program are considered obese.
Through targeting children of parents who are also at increased risk of obesity, this program aims to diminish the risk of inter-generational obesity and associated health issues. McAuley Village will collaborate with Rhode Island College (RIC) to design a fitness program that involves RIC athletes as inspiration. The collaboration also,  includes access to athletic facilities for program participants.  Mary Flynn, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University, research dietician at The Miriam Hospital, and creator of the Raising the Bar on Nutrition program and the Healing Foods initiative at McAuley House, will help lead nutrition classes for the program.
The costs of childhood obesity are real: if the average body mass index in Rhode Island was reduced by five percent it could lead to health care savings of more than $850 million in 10 years and $2 billion in 20 years. Healthcare stakeholders and nonprofits are working together to create healthier environments for Rhode Island’s children in an effort to reduce the impact of the epidemic. For the second year in a row, the BlueAngel Community Health Grant program will focus on this critical issue. This year, six new grants and three transitional grants, awarded to 2014 BACHG recipients, will be given totaling $319,000.
“Over the last decade, the BACHG program has become a real force for advancing local efforts to build healthier communities across Rhode Island.” said Michele Lederberg, chief administrative officer and general counsel for BCBSRI. “It’s a privilege to support local non-profits like McAuley Ministries whose hard work is changing the lives of kids and their moms in our community, and to help shine a light on their efforts.” 
McAuley Ministries is an independent non-profit organization sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community. The Ministry works to provide basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, health services, emotional support and guidance to the most vulnerable in the community through the core values of hospitality, compassion and dignity.
The BACHG program awards local organizations that teach and support healthy habits, from better nutrition to increased physical activity. BCBSRI accepts and reviews proposals for the BACHG program once a year. Each letter of intent received is reviewed to determine compliance with eligibility and funding priorities. Grant award winners were notified in December 2014 with funding beginning in January 2015.
About the BACHG Program
The BACHG program was launched in 2002 and has touched the lives of more than 240,000 people in the state. The program is a key component in BCBSRI’s vision of enhancing the quality of life for Rhode Islanders by increasing the quality of and access to healthcare services. The BACHGs are made possible by the BCBSRI Community Health Fund, a corporate donor-advised fund at The Rhode Island Foundation.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state’s leading health insurer and covers more than 550,000 members. The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @BCBSRI, and like us on Facebook at
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