Frequently Asked Questions
What is Blue Fund?
Blue Fund, funded solely by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, awards major grants in the Western New York area. Grants total approximately $1 million to $3 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, and healthy children.
Does the fund accept donations?
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 up to two letters of intent (LOI) maximum. If an invitation to submit a full application is extended, only one of the LOI will be chosen and that choice is at the full discretion of Blue Fund.
If your organization currently has an open Blue Fund grant, please contact Blue Fund’s director prior to submitting a letter of intent (LOI).
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.
How do I apply?
How much funding can I apply for?
The maximum grant request is $300,000.
Applicants may request up to 10% 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 three 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 by facilitating the expansion of an effective program or creating a new program based on the success of earlier work or evidence-based best practices. Priority will be given to proposals that are evidence-based and demonstrate alignment with current trends and needs, address health equity including access to care and services, foster innovation and strategic partnerships, and that have other sources of funding secured.
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.