Blue Shield of California Provides $ 300,000 to Support Youth Development, Social Justice and Health Equity in Communities of Color | California Blue Shield


OAKLAND, CA (May 7, 2021) – Blue Shield of California today announced $ 300,000 in community investments in nonprofit organizations that advance the health and well-being of youth and communities of color. The funding supports initiatives focused on youth development, social justice and health equity.

Twelve organizations – six in the San Francisco Bay Area and six in the Inland Empire region of Southern California – will each receive $ 25,000 for a range of initiatives, including art programs, mentorship, technology training, housing and social justice activism.

The announcement coincides with today’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, as well as May’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and builds on the work of the BlueSky mental health initiative. for the youth of Blue Shield. Blue Shield created BlueSky because youth mental illness is an urgent problem that requires early intervention: it’s the main reason California children are hospitalized, and half of all lifelong cases start before age 14.

“These organizations are tackling difficult challenges and finding innovative new ways to inspire black, Hispanic, Asian youth and foster families to live their healthiest, most productive and fulfilling lives,” said Kimberley Goode , Senior Vice President of External Affairs, Blue Shield. from California. “As a non-profit health plan dedicated to helping improve the health and well-being of all Californians, Blue Shield is honored to collaborate and provide our support.

Local nonprofits are essential to building a healthier California as they work to break down barriers to well-being and economic opportunity and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, ”added Goode. “Blue Shield selected this diverse group of organizations, who are trusted experts, working on the ground in their communities to drive meaningful change. ”

The funded organizations are:

San Francisco Bay Area

Interior Empire region

“Most young people in foster care in California have no source of income when they ‘get older’ and are supposed to be doing it on their own,” said Dontae Lartigue, CEO and co-founder of Razing the Bar in San Jose. . “We have to be close, intentional and be able to invest time in young people, as we would with our own children. When we do this as a community and as a system, that’s when young people will thrive. We are grateful for the support of Blue Shield to help us reach even more young people in need.

“This funding couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Pepi Jackson, president of the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce, which supports the Building Resilience in African American Families organization. “This will immediately help us increase the character building services we provide to our young girls and boys who live in some of the most vulnerable communities in the Inland Empire. Thank you, Blue Shield! ”

Blue Shield takes action for Mental Health Awareness Month

In addition to funding these community organizations, Blue Shield of California engaged in several initiatives during Mental Health Awareness Month that aim to raise awareness of resources and reduce stigma. Activities include:

  • Attending MTV Mental Health Day of Action May 20e which aims to meet the needs of our communities and identify opportunities to build long-term resilience.
  • In collaboration with the Child Mind Institute on a series of guides on mental health for parents and their campaign “Getting Better Together”.
  • Sponsorship of the Directing Change Program and Film Contest virtual awards ceremony honoring diverse young filmmakers from across California.
  • Support HR 721 – the Student Mental Health Services Act of 2021 – If approved, this federal legislation would provide grants for comprehensive school-based mental health programs that deal with suicide prevention, injury prevention, grief and violence, and encourage partnerships between schools and family – and community resources.

Today’s announcement and the BlueSky program also embody Blue Shield of California’s shared commitment to youth mental health with our state and local government partners. Our investments may synergize with Governor Newsom’s $ 400 million state budget proposal for Medi-Cal to fund infrastructure and the capacity to increase the number of K-12 students. year receiving school behavioral health services.

Since the launch of Blue Shield’s BlueSky initiative in 2019, it has funded more than 6,700 youth counseling sessions at 20 middle and high schools in San Diego and Alameda counties, and has supported first aid training in youth mental health for more than 2,000 educators statewide.

About Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California strives to create a health care system worthy of family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is an independent, tax-paying, nonprofit member of the Blue Shield Association with over 4.5 million members, over 7,500 employees and over $ 21 billion in annual revenues. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now based in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates offer health, dental, ophthalmic, Medicaid and Medicare service plans in California. The company has donated more than $ 150 million to the Blue Shield of California Foundation over the past four years to impact California communities.

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