Blue Shield of California Foundation Awards Nearly $7.2 Million to Nonprofits Statewide to Promote Health Care Reform and Protect the Safety Net

$1 Million Used to Promote Citizen Participation in Health Care Reform Debate

San Francisco, March 8, 2007 – Blue Shield of California Foundation today announced grants of nearly $7.2 million, including $1 million to promote comprehensive health care reform in California. The Foundation also works to expand access to health care and coverage, promote the use of medical technology to increase the quality of patient care, and to end domestic violence.

“To achieve comprehensive health care reform, we need a robust dialogue all across the state and in Sacramento. This year, we have a real shot at achieving our goal of health coverage for all Californians,” said Crystal Hayling, president of Blue Shield of California Foundation. “While we press for reform, we are committed to continuing to support innovative local efforts and safety net programs for the needy.”

Today’s grants represent the first quarter of BSCF’s 2007 grant-making. In 2006, the Foundation awarded a total of $27.1 million in grants, and allocated more than $1 million to additional program activities that support its strategic goals – including public education materials, forums and convenings, and commissioned research.

Highlights of the nearly $7.2 million in grants just awarded include:

$1 million to help the Pacific Institute for Community Organizations – California (PICO) educate and mobilize its local faith-based coalitions on issues related to statewide health care reform. Supporting PICO and their local chapters will infuse the interests and voice of health consumers into the current health reform dialogue.

Up to $3.9 million earmarked to subsidize the premium costs for children through the county-based Healthy Kids programs. This funding marks an ongoing commitment to the Foundation’s existing Healthy Kids grantees, which provide access to health care for children who would otherwise be uninsured. (Specific grantees will be announced at a later date.)

$285,228 to the CaliforniaKids program, which provides health insurance for all children ages 2 to 18 living in families with incomes at or below 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, but who are not eligible for other government-run insurance programs. The grant will maintain premium support for 900 California children already enrolled in this program.

Just over $814,000 in total grant-making was awarded in the area of health and technology, including several innovative programs seeking to harness the power of medical technology to save lives. For example, $106,000 was awarded to the San Diego-based Whittier Institute For Diabetes to use cutting-edge early screening telemedicine technology to help prevent or reduce blindness for uninsured diabetes patients The American Heart Association was awarded $98,000 to implement an inpatient quality improvement program for heart disease and stroke patients in 30 Southern California hospitals, providing tools to enable provider teams to treat heart and stroke patients using the most up-to-date and evidence-based guidelines. These grants reflect the Foundation’s priority focus on technology and clinical guidelines as ways to improve the quality of patient care.

$450,000 to strengthen the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence’s statewide leadership in efforts to end domestic violence. The Partnership is a coalition of domestic violence service providers. Funding from the Foundation will build the Partnership’s leadership capacity to strengthen frontline organizations and develop state-level policy and advocacy.

Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the largest health care grant-making organizations in California. The foundation was formed by Blue Shield of California, a not-for-profit corporation with more than 3.2 million members, 4,300 employees and 20 offices throughout California. For more information, visit the Blue Shield of California website at or the Foundation at