Nine Michigan Organizations Receive More Than $570,000 in Grants to Address Growing Opioid Crisis

Meghan O'Brien

| 4 min read

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DETROIT, Jan. 16, 2018 – Nine community coalitions throughout Michigan will receive a total of $570,400 in funding through the Taking Action on Opioid and Prescription Drug Abuse in Michigan by Supporting Community Responses initiative, courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, The Michigan Health Endowment Fund, The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and The Superior Health Foundation. The partnership provides one-time grants to begin new projects, or to enhance or expand existing projects aimed at reducing opioid and prescription drug abuse and harm. “This joint effort is a major initiative designed to help community coalitions address the growing opioid epidemic impacting Michigan residents in every corner of our state,” said Daniel J. Loepp, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “It’s imperative we turn our attention to the needs of the individuals and families being affected by this crisis. This funding will promote a larger network of resources throughout the state with an emphasis on prevention, treatment and support services.” Prescription drug and opioid abuse has reached epidemic proportions in Michigan. The number of deaths from drug overdose has more than tripled since 2012. Overall, 2,335 Michigan residents died in 2016 from drug overdoses, which is more deaths than car accidents. Becky Cienki, senior program officer for the Michigan Health Endowment Fund said, “Communities across Michigan are fighting the effects of the opioid epidemic, but success will look different in different places. With these grants, communities can apply solutions that will work for their neighborhoods, their needs, and their residents.” Evidenced-based programs to address the opioid epidemic in local communities, ranging from education to law enforcement to clinical interventions, were considered for the grant funding. The grants will support projects in nine coalitions in every region across the state over 18 months to identify and implement collective actions to prevent and reduce opioid and prescription drug misuse and address the harms they cause. Jim LaJoie, executive director of the Superior Health Foundation based in Marquette said, “The opioid crisis is of grave concern to many. We have seen the devastating effects of this in our rural communities. Families are being destroyed…people are dying. We’re honored to partner with a number of invested state organizations to provide meaningful grant dollars to address this epidemic.” “The opioid epidemic is hurting too many in our communities,” said Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. “We are pleased to support these organizations in their endeavors to reduce opioid addiction and abuse, and believe their work will have a very significant positive impact.” An overview of the community coalitions receiving grants is below:
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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 and administers health benefits to more than 4.6 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit and The Michigan Health Endowment Fund works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of health care, with a special focus on children and seniors. For more information about the Health Fund, go to The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a full-service philanthropic organization leading the way to positive change in our region. As a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations, the Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development, and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $963 million through nearly 63,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties. For more information, please visit The Superior Health Foundation is a health-centered, nonprofit organization that provides grant funding to health-centered causes and initiatives in the Upper Peninsula. Headquartered in Marquette, the Superior Health Foundation’s mission is to assist with unmet health care needs, with health education, and with programs and research on preventing illness and promoting health. Its vision is “to improve the health of the residents of the Upper Peninsula.” Since it began in 2012, the Superior Health Foundation has provided nearly $1.2 million in grant funding, and overall with its events, has awarded close to $1.4 million. SHF recognizes the numerous health issues that affect our society. To that end, it believes strongly in this initiative and is committed to providing philanthropic support to address the burgeoning opioid and prescription drug abuse problem in Michigan. For more information, visit

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