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Two Women Working Out - Blue Fund

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
  • Maternal health
  • Healthy children

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York is committed to eliminating health disparities while improving the health, wellness and resilience of families, individuals, and communities in our region.  We’re looking to partner strategically with nonprofits that are improving racial and health equity by supporting under-resourced communities with poor social determinants of health.

Proposals for funding may include requests to support capital and/or program-related project costs. Capital campaign requests must be 75% to goal. 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.

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 be invited to submit a full application. 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 one letter of intent (LOI) maximum. Grants may provide support to eligible organizations and projects for up to two years depending on project/program design, scale, and budget.

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

Funding Amount and Budget

Minimum grant request is $100,000; 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. 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

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield 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.


The letter of intent (LOI) is the first step in the Blue Fund competitive grant process. It involves completion of a simple electronic form to determine if a project merits further consideration in light of available resources and current priorities. See a complete list of Blue Fund grants to date here.

  • Letter of Intent online: February 1, 2023
  • Letter of Intent submissions due: March 3, 2023 by 4pm. Submissions must be sent electronically using the Blue Fund online application portal which can be accessed through a link on the Blue Fund landing page. No pdf or paper copies will be accepted.
  • Selected organizations notified to submit full applications: May 2023
  • Funding decisions announced: Late Summer/early Fall 2023


Michael Ball, Vice President, Community Affairs,

Krista Ehasz, Senior Community Affairs Coordinator,

Next Step

Need Assistance?

Michael Ball, Vice President, Community Affairs
(716) 887-8533