BlueCross Foundation Selects Two Additional COVID-19 Campaigns for Funding

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BCBST News Center, March 10, 2021

More than $1 million in grants will support vaccine communications efforts in Memphis and Tri-Cities

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

The program, announced in January, provides funding to leverage local knowledge, expertise, resources and relationships to increase vaccinations within communities.

The foundation will provide funding to these organizations:

First Tennessee Development District – $541,700

Based in Johnson City, the First Tennessee Development District provides programming to address crucial social issues in Northeast Tennessee, including food insecurity, substandard housing for older adults, workforce development for high school students and childhood literacy. The grant from the BlueCross Foundation will support the organization’s “Take A Shot On Life” communications campaign, encouraging residents of Northeast Tennessee communities, including Bristol, Kingsport, Greeneville and Johnson City, to get vaccinated.

“The First Tennessee Development District Foundation is proud to partner with the BlueCross Foundation, along with regional partners Region A.H.E.A.D. and the Regional DEI Alliance, to raise awareness for this lifesaving vaccine campaign in Northeast Tennessee,” said Mark Stevans, director of special projects. “In the face of this serious public health crisis, partnerships like this provide further evidence that with regional cooperation comes regional progress.”

City of Memphis Parks and Neighborhoods – $533,940

The grant from the BlueCross Foundation will fund the “Your Best Shot” campaign, a project of the Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force, which will promote the vaccine in Shelby County with the goal of vaccinating 656,000 residents in the next six to eight months.

“Getting nearly 700,000 Shelby County residents vaccinated to reach herd immunity by June is a monumental task,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. “This generous gift from the BlueCross Foundation to the City of Memphis will go a long way towards getting the word out about why and how to get vaccinated to the hardest to reach in our community.”

With these two new grants, the BlueCross Foundation has now awarded the full $1.7 million allocated for the RFP. First-round grant recipients included:

Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga – $401,664 for 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.

Camellia Foundation/Clinica Medicos – $208,896 to expand the organization’s vaccine distribution capabilities in Chattanooga and establish a second vaccination site.

Healing Word Counseling Center – $13,800 for medical-grade vaccine freezers and site support for vaccination events serving at-risk populations in Shelby County.

For more information on how the BlueCross Foundation has supported Tennessee communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, see

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