Special Initiatives

Program Overview

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) Foundation will provide a limited number of one-year grants of up to $25,000 through its Special Initiatives grant program.  Grants will support nonprofits seeking to make a positive impact on health or health care access in Massachusetts for people with low-income and residents of Massachusetts who have been economically, socially, ethnically, or racially marginalized.  These activities must be aligned with the Foundation's strategic priorities to promote access to quality care and coverage, promote access to behavioral health services, and eliminate structural racism and racial inequities in health. 

Key activities may include:

  • Developing an innovative pilot or demonstration project that responds to the health-related needs of the community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or racial inequities
  • Evaluating and/or deepening organizational changes implemented due to the pandemic or the recent racial justice movement that seek to make a positive impact on health or health care access for economically, socially, ethnically and racially marginalized clients
  • Demonstration or pilot programs that are aligned with the Foundation’s strategic priorities to promote access to quality care and coverage, behavioral health services, and eliminate structural racism and racial inequity in health for economically, socially, ethnically and racially marginalized residents of the Commonwealth, but which are outside of the scope of an existing Foundation grant program. 

Funding Guidelines and Criteria:

The Foundation will award one-year, non-renewable grants of up to $25,000, with proposals accepted and reviewed two times a year. This grant program does not require a Letter of Inquiry. The Foundation reserves the right to make grant awards in amounts less than $25,000. Successful proposals will:

  • Reflect one of the key activities noted above
  • Demonstrate a clear sense of the problem to be addressed and a concrete approach to addressing it
  • Identify a realistic project scope achievable within a one-year timeframe
  • Clearly articulate a plan for community engagement and building in time for that work (if applicable)
  • Identify key partners (if applicable) and specific roles they will play in program implementation and an early establishment of any key agreements, if they have been identified
  • Identify the concrete goals that you would like to achieve, ensuring that they are specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic with a clear timeframe

For the Special Initiatives grant program, the Foundation will not consider requests to support the following:

  • Direct medical and clinical care
  • Salaries for new positions with no evidence of sustainability beyond the grant period
  • Event or conference sponsorships
  • For-profit companies, religious organizations
  • Individuals

Eligible Applicants

In reviewing proposals for Special Initiatives grants, the Foundation will only consider those organizations that primarily serve people with low-income and people who have been socially, economically or racially marginalized. The Foundation will prioritize applications from organizations led by People of Color.  The Foundation aims to support as many organizations as possible, therefore, preference is given to organizations that we have not recently funded. Click here to submit an application.

Special Initiatives Proposal Deadlines:

  • Thursday April 22, 2021 
  • Monday August 30, 2021  

All proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. on date of deadline.

For a listing of current grant recipients, click "Recent Awards" to the left.