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Blue Fund Farmers Market

Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

What is Blue Fund?

Blue Fund, funded solely by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, awards major grants in the Western New York area. Grants total approximately $1 million to $5 million annually and are given to organizations and initiatives that have a positive impact on key health areas. Projects and initiatives must demonstrate enhanced measurable outcomes for community health metrics.

What is the purpose of the fund?

Blue Fund supports projects and organizations that can make a measurable difference in at least one or more of the following key focus areas: behavioral health, cardiovascular health, health care workforce development, maternal health, and healthy children. 

Does the fund accept donations?

No.

Eligibility

What kinds of programs and organizations are eligible to receive grants?

The proposed work must serve or be located in one or more of the following eight counties of Western New York: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming. Your organization must be classified as a tax-exempt nonprofit under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code or an educational or government entity with tax-exempt status. 

Any one organization may submit one letter of intent (LOI) maximum.

Organizations that have an active Blue Fund grant are not eligible to apply for funding during this cycle.

What kinds of programs and organizations are not eligible to receive grants?

  • Efforts that do not align with one or more key focus areas
  • Political campaigns or exclusively religious activities
  • Attendance at or sponsorship of fundraising events for organizations
  • Annual events or festivals
  • The use of grant funds for purposes not preapproved by Blue Fund or not supported through required documentation

Are individuals eligible to receive grants?

No, Blue Fund invests in organizations that help individuals living in our community.

Applying

How do I apply?

Blue Fund has a two-step grant application process. Applicants must submit a brief letter of intent (LOI) using Blue Fund’s online application system in accordance with the published timeline. Selected applicants will then be invited to submit a full proposal.

How much funding can I apply for?

The maximum grant request is $300,000.

Applicants may request up to 15% of the grant amount for indirect costs.

Expenses incurred prior to submission of a Blue Fund application should not be included in Blue Fund project budgets; they are not eligible for payment or reimbursement.

What is the grant period?

Grants are typically awarded for a one-year period. Blue Fund will consider supporting projects for up to two years depending on project/program design, scale, and budget.

What criteria are used to evaluate applications?

Applicants should demonstrate how the proposal aligns with one or more focus areas. Projects should deepen and broaden current work, facilitate the expansion of an effective program, or create a new program based on the success of earlier work or evidence-based best practices. The proposed initiative should be evidence-based, and demonstrate alignment with current trends and needs.

Reporting

Are there reporting requirements during the grant period and beyond?

Grantees must have the capacity to track performance and report measurable outcome results as requested and agreed upon by Blue Fund on a regular and timely basis. All grantees are required to provide a six-month progress report and a final report to close the grant after project completion. If the grant is for two or more years, the grantee will be required to submit a progress report to release any grant funds for each subsequent year after the initial funds are disbursed. Blue Fund reserves the right to conduct an independent evaluation of grant expenditures for up to four years.

Next Steps

Need Assistance?

Michael Ball, Vice President, Community Affairs
(716) 887-8533
Michael.Ball@highmarkhealth.org