Blue Cross Foundation awards more than $125,000 in grants to address integrated care needs, substance use disorder and children’s mental health

Blue Cross Foundation awards more than $125,000 in grants to address integrated care needs, substance use disorder and children’s mental health

DETROIT, April 4, 2019 — Four Southeast Michigan organizations are receiving a total of $128,250 in grants on April 5 at Mariners Inn in Detroit, Mich. courtesy of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. These grants will help improve access to quality health care for vulnerable Michigan populations, including children with mental illness and those suffering from substance use disorder. At the event, the following grants will be presented:

  • $20,000 to Mariners InnThis grant funding will support peer-recovery services for men suffering from addiction and mental illness. The organization serves as an anchor for those struggling to navigate homelessness and substance abuse through a wide range of social service programs that achieve the best possible outcomes for adults, families and youth affected by addiction. Founded in 1925 by the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, Mariners Inn is a nationally acclaimed, licensed, full-service treatment center providing substance abuse treatment, shelter, and supportive services to Southeast Michigan’s homeless men.
  • $25,000 to Judson Center This grant funding will support integrated health care services for vulnerable children with mental illness in Metro Detroit. The Judson Center is a non-profit social service agency that has been addressing the unmet needs of vulnerable children and families in Metro Detroit for 95 years. Their four focus areas are: autism programs, behavioral health services, child and family services and disability services.
  • $33,250 to Shelter Association of Washtenaw County (SAWC) This grant funding will support critical health and housing needs of older homeless adults in Washtenaw County. The proposed program is a partnership between the University Michigan Hospital System, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Packard Health, the local FQHC and the Washtenaw County Delonis Shelter. Based on county data and analysis, the program expects to serve 85 seniors ages 55+ during the first year of operation.
  • $50,000 to Detroit Regional Workforce Fund (DRWF) In collaboration with the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, this grant funding will help improve access to quality health care in Detroit while supporting the economic welfare of Detroit families. The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund (DRWF) is an organization funded and run by southeast Michigan foundations that provides comprehensive resources to support the economic mobility of families. The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation has had a representative on the governing body since its inception in 2008.

“Each of these organizations are doing great work addressing the specific needs of their communities and patient populations,” said Audrey Harvey, executive director and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. “We’re proud to continue supporting efforts that improve access to quality, affordable health care across our state and look forward to seeing what each of these grantees achieves as it relates to substance use disorder, children’s mental health, homelessness and economic prosperity in Southeast Michigan.”

The Foundation’s work is done through five targeted grant programs: investigator initiated, physician investigator, community health matching, request for proposal and student award programs. Each are categorized to allow for a wide range of applicants and ideas to improve research quality, cost and access to health care throughout the state. The four organizations receiving grants on April 5 were chosen for community health matching program.

Community health matching grants awarded by the Blue Cross Foundation target community-based, nonprofit organizations in Michigan who will use the funding to develop, test or validate new techniques and programs to address the needs of its community members and produce a tangible effect in their lives. It focuses on improving access to care in an innovate way that empowers members of the community to use their health care more wisely and follow the protocol set by health care providers.

“First and foremost, the importance of the peer recovery program stems from the fact that the State of Michigan finally recognized that the concept of one addict helping another is truly without parallel,” said Gary Owens, peer recovery coach at Mariners Inn. “Consumers find it a lot easier to share their inner most feelings with other recovering addicts that validate the saying that any addict can turn their life around. It is my belief that there is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly benefits any of us to belittle the rest of us.”

Clarinda Barnett Harrison, executive director, Detroit Regional Workforce Fund and director, Economic Prosperity, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, said, “Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation’s investment will be used to strengthen the health care talent pipeline for critical roles like pharmacy technicians and medical assistants, who play an important role in the level of care provided in our community. We are committed to building equitable access for more Detroiters to gain the necessary skills to pursue high-wage careers, and we are pleased the Foundation has partnered with us in this endeavor.”

“With this generous grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, we have opened the Judson Center Family Health Clinic in Warren and begun the next evolution of services Judson Center can provide to accomplish our mission of helping families succeed,” Judson Center President and CEO Lenora Hardy-Foster said. “The availability of this integrated care clinic means we can extend combined behavioral health and primary care services into the broader community, where the need is great, and expand our reach beyond those already acquainted with Judson Center.”

Dan Kelly, MSW Executive Director at the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County (SAWC), said, “Medical Recuperative Care offers individuals with multiple and acute chronic conditions the dignity of shelter; a caring environment to rest and recover. It is the bridge that helps people get off the streets and back into permanent housing and provides the supports to maintain that housing. Not only is it the right thing to do, it is the safest, most economical way to heal and house those in need.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, are independent licensees 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 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.