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Excellus selects eight CNY nonprofits for spring Community Health Awards

By Eric Reinhardt


Rochester–based Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has chosen eight area nonprofit organizations for its spring Community Health Awards. The health insurer on May 7 awarded each recipient up to $4,000 to help pay for health and wellness programs. (Photo provided by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield)

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (Excellus BCBS) has chosen eight organizations for its spring Community Health Awards.

More than 30 Central New York nonprofits had submitted applications, Excellus BCBS said in a news release.

Rochester–based Excellus BCBS is Central New York’s largest health insurer. It operates an office in DeWitt.

The health insurer on May 7 awarded each recipient up to $4,000 to help pay for health and wellness programs.

The awarded funding helps “support programs that have clear goals to improve the health or health care of a specific population,” Excellus said. The grants also focus on “improving the health status of the community, reducing the incidence of specific diseases, promoting health education and enhancing overall wellness.”

Excellus selects the winning organizations based on the proposed program’s “scope of need, goals, and the number of people expected to benefit from it.”

“The company’s Community Health Awards demonstrate a corporate commitment to supporting local organizations that share our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” Jim Reed, regional president of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, said in the news release. “These awards complement our existing grants and sponsorships with agencies that work to enhance quality of life, including health status, in upstate New York.”


Award recipients

The eight Central New York nonprofits selected for Community Health Awards include:


Aurora of Central New York Inc. of Syracuse will use its award to pay for an outreach and education program for people who have vision/hearing loss. The organization will provide public vision/hearing screenings every other month, along with preventive programming and intervention to help individuals with vision and hearing loss manage their conditions.


Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango plans to use its funding for Family-to-Family, an evidence-based educational program to help the family and caregivers of veterans understand the effects of post-traumatic stress. The program provides problem-solving tools and resources to better assist veterans who struggle with post-traumatic stress and/or mental health issues.


Excellus also selected the Cortland County Health Department for its radon-reduction program that will include a community-education campaign to “increase awareness of the dangers of radon and its prevalence in Cortland County.” The program will also provide training in radon testing and radon mitigation.


Foodnet Meals on Wheels of Ithaca will use its award to provide weekend and holiday meals for up to 800 older adults and individuals living with disabilities in Tompkins County. The weekend and holiday meals will address the ongoing need to supplement Foodnet’s Monday through Friday meal-delivery program and include up to two frozen hot meals per weekend and one frozen hot meal per holiday, Excellus said.


Salina–based Hospice of Central New York will use its funding to pay for Camp Healing Hearts, a four-day camp for first- through sixth-grade children who have experienced the death of a loved one or special person. Camp Healing Hearts, held every August at YMCA Camp Iroquois in Manlius, provides children with activities to promote healthy grieving and skills for hopeful living.


The award recipients also include Integrated Community Planning of Oswego County in Oswego. It plans to expand its “Smoke Free for My Baby & Me” program to include a maternal and child health home-visiting program. “Smoke Free for My Baby & Me” is a multisector community partnership that “strengthens” clinical tobacco-cessation effectiveness with support from local agencies.


Oswego YMCA will use its award to pay for its “Pedaling for Parkinson’s” exercise program with coaches in the YMCA’s indoor cycle studio. The program will offer people who have Parkinson’s disease a safe outlet for regular exercise.


Person to Person — which has offices in Fayetteville, Oswego, and Cortland — will use its funding to establish a “Get Up, Get Out, Get Moving” program that will allow its volunteers to schedule physical activities, along with food and nutrition events, with their proteges in the three counties that the organization serves.


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