Supporting rural communities is important. I know this firsthand.
Growing up in a medium-sized town in South Dakota was the best of both worlds. There was a local grocery store and a Walmart. Both were within 10 minutes of my house. If I went 5 minutes further, I could be surrounded by farmland stretching for miles and miles in three directions. I did not appreciate how lucky I was at the time.
When I was young, my family frequently made trips to North Dakota to visit family in Lidgerwood and Bismarck. While I enjoyed the miles and miles of apparent nothingness, I can now appreciate how much was out there beyond what I could see from the highway. In every rural community, there is a subculture of incredible people with important traditions and current ways of life. I appreciated my time at the farm in Lidgerwood immensely, and would cry every time we packed up to go home.
However, as wonderful as these communities are, they face a distinct challenge. Many small towns across the country are becoming smaller and smaller forcing hospitals and schools to close. Ties between healthcare and the vitality of a community is strong.
I'm proud to be part of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota Caring Foundation as one of its impact areas is rural health provider partnership grants.
The rural health provider partnership grant program, a partnership with the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota (UND) School of Medicine & Health Sciences, seeks proposals benefiting rural North Dakotans and their communities by encouraging them to embrace health and wellness through physical activity. Grant proposals are currently being accepted until 5 p.m. January 8, 2020 Central Standard Time.
Examples of eligible programs and activities include:
- Sponsoring a community fun run/walk
- Providing equipment for a playground
- Creating a worksite wellness program
- Creating a community fitness center
- Planning a health-related workshop
The Caring Foundation will make a total of $40,000 available for the 2020 Rural Health Grant Program, expected to be distributed in amounts of $2,500 to $5,000. Applicants may request funds for more than one program or activity as part of one request.
The funding period is February 14, 2020, through February 15, 2021. To learn more about the grant proposal process, visit the Center for Rural Health website.
Contributed by: Mikayla Kludt, BCBSND Caring Foundation Intern