BCBSND Caring Foundation Awards Fall SPARK Grants Totaling $100,000

FARGO, N.D. – Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) Caring Foundation has awarded its second round of 2022 SPARK Grants. Strengthening People, Access, Resources and Knowledge (SPARK) Grants are awarded to community-based initiatives that encourage health and well-being in local communities, reflect community priorities and demonstrate strong local collaborations.

BCBSND Caring Foundation congratulates the following 2022 Fall SPARK grant recipients who successfully demonstrated innovation, sustainability and opportunities to create lasting change in their communities.

Family Healthcare (FHC), Fargo, Valley City and Wahpeton: Funds will enable social and community health workers to more efficiently and effectively integrate behavioral health and other social services into their offerings (i.e. medical services, chronic disease management, dental services, etc.).

It will support the underserved in their community. That includes ethnic and cultural minorities, those with low-income, those experiencing homelessness and those with mental health diagnoses that make it difficult to navigate traditional medical facilities.

Minot Area Recovery Community Organization (MARCO), Minot and the surrounding communities including the Forth Berthold and Turtle Mountain Reservations: Funds will be used for a Recovery Education Program with the goal of changing community perspective on substance use disorder and promoting that recovery is possible for anyone and everyone.

This will be a collaboration with area businesses and community partners to get information out to employees by setting up booths at businesses and events. It will also include recovery messaging through various media outlets.

Dakota Family Services, statewide: Funds will enable Dakota Family Services to host community conversation sessions focused on mental health. These virtual conversations will be made available to parents, teachers and other community organizations. These conversations will increase awareness on mental health topics, decrease stigma and address misconceptions around mental illness and treatment.

Each conversation will be facilitated by two members of the clinical team at Dakota Family Services. They will share their expertise through education, discussions and question and answer opportunities. Topics will include Internet Safety and Our Kids, Depression in Children and Adolescents, Understanding Anxiety and Managing Back-to-School Anxiety. Many clients served by Dakota Family Services are from rural communities, where there is a substantial lack of mental health resources and support available, making community conversations even more important.

Northern Cass School District, Rural Cass County including Hunter, Arthur, Argusville, Grandin, Gardner, Erie, Harwood and Page: Funds will increase mental health services at Northern Cass by expanding the availability of a certified therapist. It will increase from two to three or four days a week in the school building. This increase will reduce wait times and provide regular weekly sessions.

Northern Cass is currently moving towards a Full-Service Community School. They have no services in their community and accessing services in the metro areas can be difficult. This will provide essential services on-site to reduce the barriers of cost, distance and time. Onsite therapy services will help reduce absentee rates, increase the number of learners who graduate choice-ready, reduce the number of discipline referrals and increase the number of learners who feel connected to an adult at the school.

BCBSND Caring Foundation will begin accepting letters of intent for 2023 SPARK Grants beginning January 2023. Learn more.

About the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) Caring Foundation
Established in 1989, the BCBSND 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.