Excellus Selects Eight Nonprofits to Receive Awards

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has chosen eight organizations from among more than 30 Central New York nonprofits that submitted applications to receive the Community Health Awards.

On May 7, each recipient was awarded up to $4,000 allocated by the company to help fund health and wellness programs in the company’s five-county Central New York region.

Through a competitive application process, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Awards support programs that have clear goals to improve the health or health care of a specific population.

Awards focus on improving the health status of the community, reducing the incidence of specific diseases, promoting health education and enhancing overall wellness. Winning organizations are selected based on the proposed program’s scope of need, goals, and the number of people expected to benefit from it.

The eight nonprofit organizations are:

• Aurora of Central New York, Syracuse, to fund 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, Chittenango, 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 or mental health issues.

Cortland County Health Department, Cortland, for a 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. Go Here to learn more!

Foodnet Meals on Wheels, Ithaca, 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.

Hospice of Central New York, Syracuse, to fund 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.

Integrated Community Planning of Oswego County, Oswego, 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 broad support from local agencies.

Oswego YMCA, Oswego, to fund its Pedaling for Parkinson’s exercise program with American Council on Exercise-certified Pedaling for Parkinson’s coaches in the YMCA’s existing indoor cycle studio of 14 bikes. The program will offer people who have Parkinson’s disease a safe outlet for regular exercise.

Person to Person, Syracuse, to establish a Get Up, Get Out, Get Moving program that will allow Person to Person volunteers to schedule physical activities, along with food and nutrition events, with their proteges in three counties served by the organization.

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

Photo: Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Regional President Jim Reed (far back) distributed the company’s Community Health Awards to (seated) Kerrie Ann Webb and Trish Levine, Oswego YMCA; Anne Costa, Aurora of Central New York; Liz Gesin, Cortland County Health Department; and to (standing) Kelly Quinn, Danielle Klein and Jessica Gosa, Foodnet Meals on Wheels; Lynn Fox, Clear Path for Veterans; Nilsa DeJesus and Jason Bolton, Person to Person; Derek Green, Cortland County Health Department; Gail Longcore and Caryn Hughes, Hospice of Central New York; and Christina Wilson, Integrated Community Planning of Oswego County.