CHICAGO – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) has launched a multi-pronged community response effort to help first responders, nonprofit organizations and residents across Illinois impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including a new rapid response funding program.
“This crisis is bigger than just a public health emergency, and it is reaching into the homes and lives of countless people in Illinois, even those fortunate enough to remain healthy,” said Steve Hamman, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. “We’re continuing to ensure our members are informed about COVID-19 and have access to the care and coverage they need while also broadening our efforts to help make a difference in the lives of others, including those fighting on the front lines to keep our local communities safe.”
BCBSIL today opened a $1.5M funding program to support community-based organizations with missions focused on access to health care, hunger and shelter. The BCBSIL COVID-19 Community Collaboration Fund will release $20,000 grants to organizations around the state. The program is designed to distribute the funds quickly to respond to the current health crisis.
- April 15, 2020 – Application opens
- April 24, 2020 – Application closes
- Week of May 4, 2020 – Applicants notified of funding decisions
BCBSIL is also supporting nonprofit organizations that serve our most vulnerable neighbors through a $1 million donation to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund and $500,000 to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund.
“The response to the COVID-19 health crisis has demonstrated the strength of our community as individuals and organizations across the Chicago region have come together for our neighbors in this time of need,” said Sean Garrett, president and CEO of United Way of Metro Chicago. “We’re thankful to work with key partners like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, the Chicago Community Trust, and the City of Chicago who are committed to getting Chicagoans access to the resources they need most daily.”
In direct support of health care workers, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois on April 8 purchased and donated 150,000 KN95 masks, to meet the urgent need for personal protective equipment (PPE). The masks were donated to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) for distribution to providers most in need. To make the donation happen, BCBSIL collaborated across multiple industries - Optimal Design sourced the masks and Teamsters Joint Council 25 handled transportation. The donation was coordinated with the state’s Essential Equipment Task Force.
“Illinois companies are rising to the challenge and helping our state address this global pandemic. This fantastic partnership between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Optimal Design Company, and Teamsters Local #25 is providing life-saving medical equipment for our doctors, nurses, and first responders across Illinois,” said Mark Denzler, president & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and co-chair of the Governor’s Essential Equipment Task Force. “This amazing donation shows that the American spirit is alive and well. It’s heartening to see Illinoisans standing up to help address this challenge.”
Other ways BCBSIL is helping to make a difference:
- April 6-April 12, we lit our Chicago headquarters building at 300 E. Randolph with the message #ALL IN ILLINOIS in support of Governor Pritzker’s statewide effort to reinforce the message: stay at home and stay safe. The building lighting is an important way for us to help spread awareness of how we can all help fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Since March 9, one of the vehicles in the BCBSIL Care Van® program has been provided to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) for use at a mobile testing site.
- Our “Blue Corps” employee volunteer force is now taking advantage of virtual volunteering to continue doing good while staying safe. Last year, our employees spent nearly 89,000 hours of time in service to others.
Learn more on our dedicated COVID-19 website about how we are responding to the pandemic for our members, including expanding access in areas such as testing, treatment, pharmacy and telehealth related to COVID-19.