Health is much more than what happens at the doctor’s office. Our well-being is influenced by where we grow up, play, live, and work. That knowledge drives us to help our families and friends, neighbors and strangers build stronger, healthier communities.
In 2021, for the first time, we had the data to report on trends occurring in our community between 2019 and 2021. This data demonstrated that BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of color) Rhode Islanders living in communities with the highest rates of poverty saw affordable housing and cost of living to be much greater barriers to their health and well-being than did white Rhode Islanders living in other areas.
Behind these numbers are our fellow Rhode Islanders, and we’ve focused our charitable giving on programs that address the problems they face, particularly the intersection of housing and health.Learn how our neighbors see their world
Tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders, including families and children, got help with housing through the nine organizations that received BlueAngel Community Health Grants from BCBSRI in 2021.
These grants, the cornerstone of our community investment program, fund programs that find housing for families, foster youth, and victims of domestic violence as well as programs that provide legal assistance.
Many Rhode Islanders want to remain in their own homes as they age. But if older homeowners can’t adapt and maintain their homes, it can be difficult to live safely and comfortably. This year, BCBSRI supported the launch of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Providence’s new Aging in Place Program. Through this program, older Rhode Islanders are now receiving home modification, repair, and decluttering services almost daily, ensuring their homes will be safer and more affordable places to remain long-term.
More Rhode Islanders will have a place to call home thanks to a BCBSRI grant of $4 million to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) over the next four years. This investment is the largest single grant in BCBSRI history, and it will support financing to produce and preserve housing, provide down payment assistance, and bolster community facilities.
Creating affordable housing requires significant investment, and this grant will serve as an anchor to leverage additional support and build a larger fund over time. It will allow LISC RI to do more, in more innovative ways, more quickly. Additionally, this investment illustrates the link between housing and health and the need to address these issues cooperatively.
The 2021 Housing Fact Book from HousingWorks RI explores housing’s intersections with health, education, and the economy. With support from BCBSRI, HousingWorks is developing an action plan for the next decade of housing for older Rhode Islanders, providing a blueprint for advocates to promote change in local and state laws and regulations to address these needs.See the 2021 Housingworks RI Fact Book
Poor quality, unaffordable, or crowded housing can damage a child’s physical health, development, and emotional well-being. BCBSRI funded a 2021 Policy Brief from Rhode Island KIDS COUNT that highlights and explains the issue and offers recommendations for supporting children and families.Read the recommendations
10 Years of Blue Across
For both employers and members, we coordinated with government officials to share up-to-date information about COVID-19–and their benefits–on our Keeping You Well and Well-Informed site.
*Includes all fully insured plans. Not all self-funded employers have chosen to cover this benefit without cost share.
In 2021, Recess Rocks started the Recess Champions program, which celebrates educators who have taken steps to prioritize play and social-emotional learning.
In the past 6 years
Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) received a $2.158 million loan to support the organization’s work in bringing healthy and affordable food to Central Falls, Pawtucket, and South Providence. We were pleased to contribute a portion of these funds, alongside the Kresge Foundation and other local funders. The loan will finance SCLT’s new headquarters and Farm-to-Market Center in Providence. Along with other programs, SCLT provides leased land to urban and rural farmers and helps them sell their produce in low-income communities.
Since 2016, BCBSRI has been partnering with Rhode Island KIDS COUNT to track data on childhood obesity in Rhode Island. This year, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT released data showing that the percentage of children who are overweight or obese dropped from 35% in 2016 to 31% in 2019, with the largest decline among Hispanic children. However, that rate is expected to rise due to the impact of COVID-19.
Partnerships to alleviate hunger
Donated by BCBSRI Employees
For decades, BCBSRI has partnered with the United Way of Rhode Island to raise funds for their important work. In 2021, support of the United Way was critical to providing COVID-19 relief and necessary community support.