Expanding access to care and empowering health is what drives us every day in our work with members and their care providers. It also guides how we invest in and work alongside community organizations across Illinois, driving change at the local level with the strength of their expertise and personal relationships.  

In 2023, we renewed our efforts to advance resources and programs that address the social and economic factors that influence our ability to achieve our best health. Amplifying the work of our community outreach and clinical teams, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois invested more than $3.8 million in five strategic focus areas through the Blue ImpactSM major grant program.  


Blue Impact


nonprofit organizations served




people served

Closing Gaps in Care

With our Care Van® mobile health program, Blue Door Neighborhood CenterSM locations and community partners, we’re expanding access to immunizations, diabetes care, cardiovascular care, behavioral health, early detection cancer screening, and maternal and infant health.

Blue Impact grants are supporting community organizations across Illinois to amplify the work of BCBSIL’s doctors, nurses, social workers and other clinicians who collaborate with care providers to close care gaps.  

Tapestry 360 Health, a network of community health centers formerly called Heartland Health Centers, is using a Blue Impact grant for a maternal health model that helps care providers identify and address social and economic factors that may lead to poor health outcomes for moms and babies.

Another grant is helping the Midwest Asian Health Association address a mental health crisis in Asian immigrant communities with limited English, providing public education that destigmatizes mental illness.


Man checking blood sugar


Battling Diabetes With Nutrition and Health Education

A Chicago nonprofit health center is helping patients gain better access to healthy foods and adopt healthier lifestyles to combat diabetes in the community.


Care Van® Impact


clients served


immunizations and other services provided


events held

Communal employee space at Pilsen Center

Economic Opportunity and Stability

It’s hard to focus on health without stable income, access to jobs, and chances to gain new skills and grow. A dozen organizations are making a difference in these areas with the support of Blue Impact grants.

They include New Moms, which is providing 16 weeks of job training and experience to prepare young Chicago moms for permanent employment. Caritas Family Solutions is helping low-income Illinois residents 55 and older return to the workforce and gain economic stability.

We also strive to create economic opportunity with how we do business. In Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, BCBSIL opened a new center that will employ as many as 300 people in customer service and information technology roles. We worked with Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, a nonprofit that connects qualified candidates to promising job roles in the communities where they live. 


Three people pose with donated coats and goods


Providing a Path Forward in Kane County

Lazarus House, a shelter in operation for 26 years, offers daily meals, long-term transitional living, substance misuse support, rent and utility assistance, and individual case management.

Man carries crate of green leafy vegetables

Addressing Hunger and Nutrition

Reliable access to nutritious food is essential to health and wellness, and too many people in communities across Illinois live in food-insecure households.

To help meet this need, BCBSIL supports and collaborates with organizations that buy and distribute fresh food and provide culturally appropriate education and support.

In 2023, we worked with T. Castro to distribute 1.2 million pounds of food to provide at no cost at community events and pop-up farmers markets throughout Illinois. Fresh food and vegetables vary depending on the community where an event is held. With T. Castro and Dion’s Chicago Dream, our Morgan Park Blue Door Neighborhood CenterSM is providing access to fresh food from refrigerated lockers for up to 175 families a week.

Three boys pose with a harvest of beets


Combating Food Insecurity With Sustainable Farming

College of Lake County’s Green Youth Farm Initiative plans to hire 20 students and produce up to 20,000 pounds of food for Lake County residents in this year’s growing season.  


Food Impact


individuals reached


food events in 131 ZIP codes

2.1 million

servings provided

Rows of men sit in audience at a community mens's health event

Strengthening Neighborhood
and Local Assets

We all rely on the structure of our homes and neighborhoods to meet our most basic needs, so we’re investing in efforts across Illinois to improve access to affordable healthy housing, transportation and physical activity.

In three Chicago neighborhoods, our Blue Door Neighborhood Center locations provide in-person and virtual health wellness programming and resources at no cost. Most services are available to anyone in the community, not just BCBSIL members.

The Blue Door locations saw more than 27,000 visits and hosted more than 2,000 programs and events.

The Flexible Housing Pool program, with help from a Blue Impact grant, is increasing supportive housing resources across Cook County for people who experiencing homeless and frequently use the county’s crisis systems, including emergency rooms and jails, for housing and services.

In Northwest Illinois, Blue Impact is helping Lifescape Community Services expand its transportation services to help older adults and people with disabilities get to health care appointments, pharmacies and other needs.

Working with local officials and National Fitness Campaign, we helped bring six outdoor fitness courts to Illinois communities.

American Red Cross worker with clipboard walks woman through safety routes and tips


Installing Smoke Alarms to Help Save Lives

To reduce fire-related deaths, the American Red Cross through its Alarm & Youth Preparedness Program installs free smoke alarms and helps families learn, practice and share information about how to handle a house fire.


Blue Door Impact


visitors to three locations


programs and events hosted


At-home test kits distributed for colorectal cancer screening

BCBSIL employee poses at block party in front of Care Van®

Locally Defined Solutions

Access to health services often varies from one neighborhood to another in Chicago, suburb to suburb beyond the city, and community to community in every region of the state.

The Blue Impact grant program is helping nearly 30 organizations address these needs at the hyperlocal level.

For example, Mano a Mano Family Resource Center is helping immigrant families in Lake County understand and navigate the U.S. health care system.

In six of Chicago’s most underserved neighborhoods, BUILD is providing clinical therapists, case managers, mentors and other resources to serve youth and families impacted by violence, trauma and other challenges that undermine health and opportunity.


People gathered for Cultivate Collective ribbon cutting event


Building Healthier Communities on the Southwest Side of Chicago

Cultivate Collective is launching a sustainable health hub equipped with a wellness center, a public school, an urban farm and more.

Last Updated: April 25, 2024