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Overview and Guidelines

What You Need to Know

Blue Fund will consider grant requests that address at least one or more of the following key health focus areas:

  • Behavioral health
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Health care workforce development
  • Healthy children

For behavioral health applications, preference will be given to proposals that address needs and trends through strategic clinical and non-clinical partnerships, demonstrate the use of innovative technology for treatment, training or analytics, and/or improve substance use disorder access and care.

Proposals for funding may include requests to support capital and/or program-related project costs. Applicants should demonstrate how the proposal will 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 have other sources of funding secured.  Proposals must be submitted electronically using the online application system before the deadline. Hard copy, emailed, or PDF applications will not be accepted. Performance tracking and reporting will be required using our online system.

How Do You Qualify?

In order to qualify for Blue Fund 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. Grants may provide support to eligible organizations and projects for up to three years depending on project/program design, scale, and budget. 

If your organization currently has an open Blue Fund grant, please contact Blue Fund’s director prior to submitting a letter of intent (LOI).

Funding Amount and Budget

Minimum grant request is $100,000; 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. The proposed project or program should not begin, and expenses should not be incurred, before a funding decision has been communicated by Blue Fund to the applicant. Blue Fund reserves the right to pay grants in a single installment or in multiple disbursements.

Performance and Reporting

Grantees must have the capacity to track performance and report measurable outcome results as agreed upon by Blue Fund on a regular and timely basis. Blue Fund reserves the right to conduct an independent evaluation of grant expenditures for up to four years. The grantee agrees to provide the information necessary to complete such an evaluation. Failure to submit requested information in a timely fashion may obligate the grantee to refund the grant. The failure of an applicant to properly close out a grant in a timely manner will be a factor when considering new grant applications.

What We Do Not Fund

We do not fund political campaigns, exclusively religious activities, or efforts that do not align with one or more Blue Fund focus areas. Attendance at or sponsorship of fundraising events for organizations, annual events or festivals, and the use of grant funds for purposes not preapproved by Blue Fund or not supported through required documentation will not be funded.

Media and Public Announcements

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York must approve all uses of the Blue Fund name and logo and reserves the right to review and approve all public outreach and announcements related to the grant-supported project or initiative including but not limited to brochures, flyers, press releases, reports, articles, media engagement, groundbreaking and ribbon cutting events.