The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation focuses on the factors that determine health beyond genes, lifestyle and access to health care. This focus reflects our purpose: to look beyond health care today for ideas that create healthier communities tomorrow.
Health is not just the result of genes, lifestyle and access to health care. It is also determined by the day-to-day conditions in which we live and work. According to the World Health Organization, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
The foundation conducted research, convened local and national leaders, and talked with Minnesota communities to identify where to target our resources under this focus:
Healthy early childhood development (infancy through age five) is critical for school readiness and social skills, and sets the stage for a healthy, productive adulthood.
Living in safe, affordable housing and safer neighborhoods are linked to better health, especially for children.
Research has found that healthier communities have stronger social networks and support systems that bond people together. Social connectedness is especially important in the mental health and healthy adjustment of new Americans.
Environmental quality has an effect on our health. Children are especially vulnerable, and children living in low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards.
A focus on determinants of health will improve health and lessen the burden on the health care system over time. But it does not lessen the importance of access to quality health care and prevention.
While Minnesota is one of the healthiest states in the nation, many Minnesotans do not share that health — particularly people of color, new Americans and people living in poverty. Many health problems, such as asthma, diabetes and some cancers, are strongly associated with poverty, recent immigration to the U.S. and membership in a racial minority group.
Our state will be healthier if more Minnesotans have a healthy childhood, live in safe and affordable homes and communities, and feel socially connected.
Our long-term, $10 million commitment combines grantmaking with foundation operating programs in four strategic initiatives on health and immigration, children’s health, health leadership and public policy:
From addressing the social, economic and environmental factors that influence health, to helping members manage complex chronic diseases, Blue Cross, in its many facets, reaches out to Minnesotans across a whole health continuum. The role of the foundation, Blue Cross’ philanthropic arm, is to focus on changing social, economic and environmental conditions to make a significant difference in the lives of Minnesotans.