BCBSNC revises grants process

By Ret Boney

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation has revised its approach to grantmaking to focus on three areas and tie funding to long-term results.

The Chapel Hill-based foundation spent about six months analyzing its grants process and the impact of its funding, and the resulting strategy aims to increase the group’s ability to affect problems over the long-term.

“Our goal is to maximize the impact that we’re having on nonprofits throughout the state, and ultimately on the North Carolinians those nonprofits are serving,” says Danielle Breslin, the foundation’s vice president of operations.

The work of the foundation now will target improving the health of vulnerable populations in the state, encouraging healthy and active communities and building the effectiveness of North Carolina’s nonprofit sector.

“We’ve tried to be much more clear about what it is we’re trying to achieve and help nonprofits understand what we’re interested in investing in,” says Breslin.

The new approach also includes organizing funding requests by focus area and making decisions based on potential impact, while the foundation’s previous process organized grants and decisions by grant size.

The foundation paid out more than $6 million in grants last year and has awarded more than $30 million since its inception in 2000.

The new grants cycle begins next year, with applications due in February and March.

The foundation will hold informational sessions for prospective grantees on Nov. 7 in Asheville, on Nov. 8 in Chapel Hill and on Nov. 16 in Greenville.

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