Man receives food pantry donation box.

‘Addressing Food and Nutrition Insecurity to Improve Health Equity’ Grants Awarded

DETROIT, Dec. 1, 2021 – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation today announced $650,000 in grant funding to 14 organizations for evidence-based, sustainable initiatives that address food and nutrition insecurity to improve health equity through Michigan’s local food systems. The collaboration invited proposals from Michigan-based local food policy councils and nonprofit organizations seeking funding for strategies tailored to the local needs and culture within their communities.

Initiatives funded included serving Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) individuals and families, seniors, mothers and children, and Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities. Innovative initiatives tailored to the community that included collaboration among multiple stakeholders, addressed health equity and with strong sustainability plans were prioritized.

“We are proud to partner with these grant recipients who are dedicated to improving access to healthy, nutrient-rich food which addresses an important social determinant of health, prevents chronic diseases and leads to better overall health and well-being,” said Ken Hayward, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan vice president and special assistant to the president for Community Relations.

“The grantmaking partnership with Blue Cross, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is passionately dedicated to ending food and nutrition insecurity, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Audrey Harvey, executive director and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. “The selected organizations and food policy councils proposed plans to improving their local food systems. With our collaboration, we are able to invest in interventions designed to meet the needs of individuals in all walks of lives that meet their needs, putting them on a path to lead healthier lifestyles.”

“Access to healthy food is a fundamental element of health equity, as it is deeply tied to so many aspects of our mental and physical wellbeing,” said Laurie Solotorow, program director for the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. “Whether it’s pop-up produce markets in Pontiac or a farmers market transportation initiative for Northeast Michigan older adults, the motivation for our support is the same: to improve food security for Michigan’s most vulnerable residents.”

“At the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, children are at the heart of everything we do. Our focus on health equity includes addressing the pressing need in the communities we serve for access to affordable and nutritious food as well as identifying and eliminating the root causes of food insecurity in poor and BIPOC communities,” said Marijata Daniel-Echols, program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “The work these grant recipients will do over the next year will help ensure their communities will become and remain places where children and families can thrive.”

The organizations’ grant programming will begin in January 2022. Organizations receiving grants to enhance health equity and food security programming include:

Organization Program Title Investment Provided Counties Served
Access of West Michigan “Good Food Systems Initiative” $50,000 Kent
Allen Neighborhood Center “Enhancing Food Security: Edible Park, Breadbasket Pantry and Veggie Box Solidarity Program” $50,000 Ingham
Barry County Community Foundation “Building a Sustainable Local Food System in Barry County” $50,000 Barry
Community Action House “Healthy Eating & Nutrition Advocacy at the Holland/Zeeland Food Club” $50,000 Ottawa
Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan “Northeast Michigan Healthy Food Project” $75,000 Alcona, Alpena and Montmorency
Greater Lansing Food Bank “Breaking Down Barriers Through a Food-First Approach” $50,000 Ingham
Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, Inc. “Fresh Food for All: A Collective Approach to Executing and Distributing Local Food Purchases for Emergency Food Providers” $75,000 Grand Traverse
Micah 6 Community “Expand and Restarting Pop-Up Markets” $20,000 Oakland
National Kidney Foundation of Michigan “Growing Healthy Futures in Inkster” $25,000 Wayne
Oakland University “Prescription for a Healthy Oakland-Southeast Expansion” $60,000 Oakland
R.I.S.E. Corp “RISE Healthy Food Community Distribution Program” $50,000 Calhoun
Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association “Expansion of Cesar E. Chavez Farmers Market Services & Community Garden Programming” $20,000 Kent
Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency “The Empowered Pantry” $25,000 Wayne
YMCA of Saginaw “Mini Food Pantries” $50,000 Saginaw

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About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides health benefits to more than 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies residing outside the state. The company has been committed to delivering affordable health care products through a broad variety of plans for businesses, individuals and seniors for over 80 years. Beyond health care coverage, BCBSM supports impactful community initiatives and provides leadership in improving health care. For more information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.

About the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation

The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the philanthropic affiliate of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Care Network and is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information about our work and grant programs available, please visit bcbsm.com/foundation.

About the Michigan Health Endowment Fund

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of healthcare, with a special focus on children and older adults. The foundation has five annual grant programs. For more information about the Health Fund and its grantmaking, visit mihealthfund.org.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.