BCBSND Caring Foundation Recognizes 2023 spring SPARK Grant Recipients

cute african american boy running with rugby ball while having fun with father in park

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) Caring Foundation has awarded its first round of SPARK grants for the year. Strengthening People, Access, Resources and Knowledge (SPARK) grants are awarded to community-based initiatives that support health and well-being in local communities, reflect community priorities and demonstrate the ability to create lasting change.

BCBSND congratulates the following 2023 spring SPARK grant recipients who successfully demonstrated innovation, sustainability and the opportunity to create lasting change in their communities.

Dakota Children’s Advocacy Center: Support for their telehealth outreach project will provide healing and evidence-based counseling services to more rural and under-served youth and families across the state affected by abuse. This should decrease barriers such as transportation, cost and accessibility.

CHI Mercy Health Hospital: Grant funds will provide support services for transitional housing for mental health care to individuals experiencing homelessness in Valley City and Barnes County. This will allow residents to have increased knowledge in life skills (e.g., financial management, coping skills, socialization) along with access to mental health and other health-related services.

YWCA Cass Clay: Financial assistance will help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness and provide supportive housing for more than 60 adults and children in Cass County and surrounding areas. Supportive services will be offered as well as connecting them to healthcare, education, employment and addressing children’s needs.

Missouri Slope Areawide United Way: Funds will support housing at the Center for Opportunity located in the highest poverty neighborhood in Bismarck, helping more than 1,000 men, women and children increase access to services and create a pathway out of poverty. This community-based initiative will offer a permanent solution for a homeless shelter increasing access to community support as well as a safe place for those in need 24/7.

“These recipients are a great example of how our communities can improve the lives of North Dakotans and combat the obstacles standing in the way of better health and well-being,” said Pam Gulleson, executive director of the BCBSND Caring Foundation. “They also exemplify how partners working together can address critical gaps identified in our recent study on social determinants of health.”

The BCBSND Caring Foundation, in partnership with the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Center for Social Research, recently completed a study titled, “Health and Well-Being in North Dakota, 2022 – A Social Determinants of Health Perspective.” The study offers insight into the state of health in North Dakota and can be found at www.bcbsnd.com/sdoh.

BCBSND Caring Foundation will begin accepting letters of intent for the 2023 fall SPARK grant cycle beginning in July. View our website for more details or email questions to caringfoundation@bcbsnd.com.

About the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) Caring Foundation
Established in 1989, the BCBSND Caring Foundation (www.BCBSND.com/Caring-Foundation) is a private 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Through giving and investing, the Caring Foundation focuses on key health issues that help improve the health and well-being of North Dakotans and their communities. Caring Foundation staff work with grantees to support nonprofit sustainability, collaborate on shared outcomes and create lasting change.