Excellus BlueCross BlueShield selects seven Central New York nonprofits to receive Community Health Awards

Syracuse, N.Y. — Seven nonprofit Central New York organizations have been chosen to receive Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Awards from among close to 60 applications submitted. Each award recipient will receive up to $4,000 allocated by the company to help fund health and wellness programs in the company’s five-county Central New York region.

Through a competitive application process, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Awards support programs that have clear goals to improve the health or health care of a specific population.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Awards Recipients

Awards focus on improving the health status of the community, reducing the incidence of specific diseases, promoting health education and enhancing overall wellness. Winning organizations are selected based on the proposed program’s scope of need, goals and the number of people expected to benefit from it.

The seven nonprofit organizations in the Central New York region selected to receive Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Awards are:


  • Auburn YMCA-WEIU, Auburn, to establish a structured, 12-week strength training and aerobic exercise program to help people who have diabetes achieve the American Diabetes Association’s recommendations for exercise. The goal is to lower participants’ need for medication and to prevent the possibility of future complications.


  • Clear Path for Veterans, Chittenango, to fund a “Cooking for Better Health” program to help people who are veterans, on active duty, in the Reserves or the National Guard and their families learn how to cook healthy meals made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. The goal is to help prevent the onset of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.


  • Cortland Regional Medical Center, Cortland, for its smoking cessation program for pregnant women. Participants must attend at least four of six, free smoking cessation sessions. As long as the women remain smoke-free, they receive $25 in free diapers each month for six to 12 months postpartum.


  • Foodnet Meals on Wheels, Ithaca, to add nutrient-dense items, such as grains, beans, and fiber-enriched fruits and vegetables, to nearly 700 daily meals that the organization delivers to more than 400 older adults and others in need in Tompkins County. The goal is to promote nutritional health and alleviate inadequate nutrient intake among the population served.


  • Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County, Ithaca, to further the Health Planning Council’s Red Folder Project. The council will create and distribute large, red folders that patients can use to better track and manage all of their relevant health information, including medication lists, discharge papers, health care proxy forms, personal health records, appointment reminders and physician contact numbers.


  • Prevention Network, Syracuse, to purchase 265 drug deactivation kits for distribution among families across Onondaga County. The kits include a proprietary activated carbon system to safely dispose of unused prescription medications. Distribution will take place at 15 community health, wellness and substance abuse prevention events that will be held this year.


  • WCNY, The Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York, Syracuse, to offer “Food and Fun Fridays” summer programming at its state-of-the-art Broadcast and Education center on the Near Westside. On the two Fridays before Labor Day, the organization will offer two hours of entertaining, educational programming for children, culminating with children packing bags of healthy foods to take home for the weekend and beyond.

“The company’s Community Health Awards demonstrate a corporate commitment to supporting local organizations that share our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” said Jim Reed, regional president, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “These awards complement our existing grants and sponsorships with agencies that work to enhance quality of life, including health status, in upstate New York.”

Throughout its more than 80 years of providing access to high-quality, affordable health care in upstate New York, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has supported hundreds of programs that help residents in our community live healthier and more secure lives.