BlueCross Foundation Funds Three COVID-19 Vaccination Campaigns

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BCBST News Center, March 1, 2021

First grants from $1.7 million opportunity will support community-led efforts for education and distribution in Hamilton and Shelby Counties

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation has selected three organizations for first-round funding from its COVID-19 vaccine campaign RFP.

The program, announced in January, is designed to provide funding to leverage local knowledge, expertise, resources and relationships to increase vaccinations within communities. Through the RFP, the foundation will award multiple grants on a rolling basis, totaling up to $1.7 million.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger praised the foundation for its commitment to Hamilton County’s public health. “We’re grateful to see the BlueCross Foundation supporting these community-led efforts to help encourage more of our neighbors to get vaccinated. Promoting these lifesaving vaccines will allow more of our residents to return to their normal, everyday activities sooner rather than later.”

The foundation will provide funds to these organizations:

Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga – $401,664

The grant from the BlueCross Foundation will fund a coalition-led communications campaign and vaccine support program focusing on vulnerable populations in the Chattanooga area, including African-Americans, Latinx residents, older adults and people with disabilities.

“This pandemic has demonstrated that Chattanooga responds to trying times with action and generosity,” said Maeghan Jones, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. “As our community ramps up its efforts to deliver vaccinations to the public, a cross-sector coalition of faith leaders, non-profits, elected officials and health providers have assembled to ensure no one is left behind. We are so grateful for partners like the BlueCross Foundation and their commitment to support our most vulnerable communities with accurate, timely and trusted public health information that can help put COVID-19 behind us.”

The Community Foundation has committed an additional $20,000 to this initiative, and the Benwood Foundation has committed $10,000.

Camellia Foundation/Clinica Medicos – $208,896

Clinica Medicos, which serves underinsured and uninsured populations, is the Chattanooga area’s first community site to receive and distribute COVID-19 vaccines. The BlueCross Foundation grant will be used to expand the organization’s capabilities and establish a second vaccination site.

“This grant represents the confidence the BlueCross Foundation has in Clinica Medicos to minimize barriers to health care by connecting with our patients through creative, caring solutions and effective planning,” said Dr. Kelly Rodney Arnold, medical director. “We are honored to apply this support towards an expanded COVID-19 vaccination effort that reaches all pockets of our community and delivers health and well-being to our city.”

Healing Word Counseling Center – $13,800

Healing Word Counseling Center provides a variety of services, including primary care, to uninsured residents of Shelby County. The organization will use the BlueCross Foundation grant for medical-grade vaccine freezers and site support for vaccination events serving at-risk populations.

“This grant allows us to promote and distribute COVID-19 vaccines to a community with high infection rates – people of color,” says Pastor Dianne P. Young, programs manager. “In the South, the Black church is important in removing the stigma about vaccines and health care. Its involvement in our initiative signals the safety of the vaccine and further encourages utilization of this life-saving resource.”

The BlueCross Foundation is continuing to award grants until the entire $1.7 million has been allocated. Civic organizations, governmental entities and non-profits are invited to submit proposals for funding. For additional information and to apply, visit

About BlueCross® 
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is a taxpaying, not-for-profit health plan serving more than 3.4 million members in Tennessee and around the country. The Chattanooga-based company was founded in 1945 and has brought peace of mind to its members and local communities for more than 75 years. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s news center at

About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, Inc.

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation organized to promote the philanthropic mission of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. It has awarded $120 million in grants since 2005. The foundation provides funding for the BlueCross Healthy Place program, which creates active, healthy spaces across Tennessee.

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