Blue Shield of California Foundation Awards $8.5 Million, Gives Timely Boost to Safety Net

Record Funding Could Provide Core Support to 31 Additional Health Clinics

San Francisco, May 18, 2009 - Blue Shield of California Foundation (BSCF) today announced that it is awarding nearly $8.5 million to nonprofits working to improve the health of Californians, and to end domestic violence. The announcement includes record funding for core support to health clinics, which play a vital role in providing a safety net for state residents in need.  

"With mounting unemployment, more Californians than ever are relying on clinics to provide health care," said Crystal Hayling, president and CEO of BSCF. "We all need to rise to the challenge and make sure clinics have the resources to meet the immediate needs of families who lack or lose health insurance." 

The second quarter grantmaking includes up to $7.5 million in core support to California-licensed community clinics that provide health services to the state's most vulnerable populations. Through this year's Clinic Initiative, the Foundation will expand its reach to help as many as 31 additional eligible clinics. Since it launched its first Clinic Initiative in 2003, BSCF has invested nearly $32 million in approximately 200 health clinics and their associations across California.  

"We must address the immediate needs of California's uninsured families, while also focusing on health reform efforts that can make every family healthier and more secure over the long term," explained Hayling.

Toward that end, BSCF is investing $600,000 to help Small Business Majority bring the needs and voices of California's small businesses into the national healthcare reform conversation. Founded in 2005, Small Business Majority is a national, nonprofit, advocacy organization focused on solving the single biggest problem facing America's 27 million small businesses: affordable and accessible health care. 

As part of the Foundation's work identifying strategies that improve quality and lower costs of serving the uninsured, BSCF will also provide $200,000 to San Mateo County to evaluate two new countywide strategies aimed at giving greater health service access to local residents who lack coverage. San Mateo County has a reputation for being a trailblazer in the field, having been one of the first counties to facilitate local governance of major public healthcare funding streams. The county is also one of a few that has sustained universal health coverage for children and developed a shared vision for universal health coverage for all.

As part of its ongoing commitment to ending domestic violence in California, BSCF also announced a $170,000 grant to San Francisco's Asian Women's Shelter. Founded 20 years ago, by Executive Director Beckie Masaki, to address the unmet needs of non-English-speaking immigrant and refugee survivors of domestic violence, the organization annually serves more than 8,000 victims, families, and community members. With Masaki stepping down in 2010, BSCF will provide support to sustain the organization through an executive leadership transition. 

About Blue Shield of California Foundation

Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the largest healthcare grantmaking organizations in California. For more information, visit:  The Foundation was formed by Blue Shield of California, a not-for-profit corporation with more than 3.4 million members, 4,700 employees and 20 offices throughout California. For more information about the company, please visit