Caring for Communities SPARK Grants


The Caring Foundation continues to build on efforts to support health and well-being throughout North Dakota. As evidence continues to grow showing that where we live and what services and supports are available have a significant impact on our health, we will be investing additional resources at the community level to strengthen opportunities to build collaboratives that invest locally to enhance healthy lifestyles, address service gaps and promote health equities.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) Caring Foundation will provide a limited number of one-year grants annually of up to $50,000 to North Dakota communities and organizations undertaking efforts to support health and community-based wellness and prevention. With the addition of our CaringforCommunities SPARK grants, our goal is to enhance collaborative efforts and community involvement that results in long-lasting change. 


  • Invest in community-based initiatives that will support access and opportunity leading to improved habits and healthier lifestyle.
  • Strengthen capacity for effective collaborations, coalitions, and partnerships to improve health status and outcomes.
  • Expand efforts by local leaders, community health, and communities to improve health equity and access.

Project examples could include, but are not limited to:

  • Raise awareness and enhance behavioral health and suicide prevention.
  • Limiting the use of tobacco/nicotine/vaping products.
  • Implement community, school gardens and farmers markets to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Improve access to physical activity by enhancing bike trails and adding mileage signs.
  • Enhance the usability of streets for all modes of travel, for all ages and abilities.
  • Address barriers to preventative screenings and improve health equity and access.
  • Reduce high-risk drinking and related negative consequences among high school and college students.
  • Programming for chronic conditions to improve health, including education, support groups, meal planning, and wellness activities.
  • Assess and enhance community services that help older adults remain in their homes.

Please note requests for grant dollars cannot be used to directly fund a full-time employee position at your organization and may also not be used to fund capital campaigns.

Also, if you have already received dollars from other grant funds from BCBSND Caring Foundation during the current calendar year you are ineligible to apply for additional funding this year.

Application Process:

These grants are awarded through a competitive, two-step process: 1) a Letter of Intent, 2) a Grant Application.

SPARK Grant Cycle

Those interested in applying for a grant must first submit a Letter of Intent Form by 5 p.m. on Jan. 31 to be considered for our spring funding cycle or 5 p.m. on July 31 for our fall funding cycle. Eligible organizations must be North Dakota based 501(c)(3) nonprofits, municipal entities (i.e. park boards, public health) or school systems in order to submit a Letter of Intent. An organization is only allowed to submit one Letter of Intent per calendar year. Once a Letter of Intent is submitted to the BCBSND Caring Foundation you will hear back within two weeks of receipt weather your organization will be invited to submit a Grant Application. Grant applications are sent by invitation only. Submitting a Grant Application does not guarantee funding. If invited to apply, grant applications should be filled out and sent back to the Foundation by Feb. 28 (spring cycle) or Aug. 31 (fall cycle).

All Letter of Intent and Grant Applications must be electronically submitted to Your Letter of Intent will be reviewed carefully. If your organization is a good match, you will be invited to submit a full application. If your organization is invited to apply, once your full application is submitted our Foundation staff will advise you of your applications status by March 15 (spring cycle) or Sept. 15 (fall cycle).

Key Dates:

Please note: If you miss a deadline you will need to wait for the next grant cycle.


There will be multiple payouts. Payments are made based on performance and meeting benchmarks provided during quarterly check-ins. 


For a grant to be considered, the following must be met:

  • Alignment: The project clearly aligns with BCBSND Caring Foundation CaringforCommunities focus to support initiatives that encourage health and well-being within our communities.
  • Sustainable: The project is sustainable. The community shall be able to implement and maintain over the long term, resulting in the project continuing to thrive long after BCBSND Caring Foundation grant funds have been used.
  • Priority: The project is a demonstrated priority by the community.
  • Collaborative: The project leverages private, public and/or community resources and maximizes collaboration with stakeholders throughout the community.
  • Evidenced-Based: The project aligns with evidenced based, best practices and principles.
  • Evaluation: The outcomes are clearly stated and measurable and have a sound evaluation process.
  • Attainable: The funds must be expended, and the project must be able to be completed within a 1-year time frame.

Spring 2024 SPARK Grant Recipients:

F5 Project, Jamestown – provide culturally rooted programs within the James River Correctional Center to reduce recidivism among ND’s indigenous population. 

Mountrail County Medical Center, Stanley – will allow Avel eCare EMS telemedicine to be utilized by the Stanley Ambulance Services to initiate clinically guided pre-hospital care for better outcomes. 

TNT Kids Fitness, statewide – an inclusive peer-to-peer model will guide educators to adapt physical education classes for students that goes beyond the gym, containing functional fitness for workforce demands. 

Strengthen ND, statewide – will increase utilization of SNAP Double Up Dakota Bucks by building connections with small farmers, schools, farmers’ markets, rural grocery stores and organizations serving North Dakota’s hunger crisis to create redemption opportunities.

Prairie Harvest Mental Health, Grand Forks - will enhance efforts in Region IV of North Dakota by creating in partnership with other substance use disorder (SUD) providers, a seamless referral system. This will allow participants to access the appropriate level of support so they can successfully live in the community of their choice.