Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island awards $269,000 to local organizations fighting childhood obesity


PROVIDENCE, RI  – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is honoring five local organizations with BlueAngel Community Health Grants (BACHG). The BACHG program is BCBSRI’s cornerstone grant program, supporting nonprofit organizations working to address critical health issues in Rhode Island. For the past four years BACHG funding has been directed toward Rhode Island agencies combating the critical issue of childhood obesity.

“Encouraging children to be healthy and active at a young age sets them on the path to a lifetime of wellbeing,” said Kim Keck, president and CEO of BCBSRI. “We are honored to partner with these local organizations shaping healthy habits, from better nutrition to increased physical activity.”

Since the BlueAngel program’s inception in 2002, BCBSRI has donated more than $3.4 million dollars to support local nonprofit organizations. More than 270,000 Rhode Islanders have been touched in some way by BACHG funded programs.

The following organizations and their partners will receive a total of $143,000 in BACHG funding in 2017:

  • Girls on the Run RI (GOTRRI). GOTRRI is a running-based youth development program offered at several school sites statewide for girls ages 8 to 13. Girls train for 10 weeks leading up to a 5K as they learn about what it means to be healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. With their $27,000 in funding, GOTRRI will expand its programming to more sites in lower-income neighborhoods.
  • Progreso Latino. “Health in Sports” is an afterschool sports program in Central Falls dedicated to making healthy exercise and diet central to the lives of children (first through fourth grade) and their families. The $35,000 BACHG will make possible two popular elementary school sports within their respective school leagues. The program will also incorporate exercise, diet, and nutrition guidance and will facilitate two workshops with parents per season.
  • Rhode Island Public Health Institute. The “Rhody Food on the Move” mobile food market addresses the lack of access to affordable, healthful food in underserved neighborhoods throughout the state, as well as the growing demand for local food and the need to create a sustainable local food system. The mobile market brings fresh fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods where residents have limited access to affordable, healthful food. The $50,000 BACHG will expand the markets to schools and family housing sites and will add evening markets to reach working parents.
  • Woonsocket Head Start. The “Parental Perception in Childhood Obesity” research program will examine the problem of disparity between parental perception of a child’s weight and the child’s true weight condition. During the 2017-2018 school year, the $7,000 received will support the development of intervention strategies to help change nutrition patterns.
  • NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley (NWBRV). The NWBRV provides before- and after-school and full day summer programming for K-12 youth annually. Through its $24,000 BACHG, NWBRV will expand to offer the “College Ready Communities - Kids on the Move” program. This will add 30 to 60 minutes of daily physical activity to the curriculum through designated fitness times and classes, as well as active educational methods. The program aims to increase children’s desire to be active, encourage a lifelong habit of exercise and contribute to a reduction in obesity rates.

In addition to these grants, BCBSRI provides previous awardees the opportunity to reapply in year two for transitional funding, to build on successful performance outcomes. Transitional BACHG funding has been awarded to all six organizations from last year’s BACHG program:

  • Beat the Streets Providence ($15,000)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket ($30,000)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence ($25,000)
  • Farm Fresh Rhode Island ($30,000)
  • Recycle-A-Bike ($20,000)
  • South County Food, Fitness + Fun ($6,000).

Total BACHG funding for 2017 will be $269,000. This funding is made available through the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Community Health Fund maintained at the Rhode Island Foundation.

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