Press Releases

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Highmark Delaware awards nearly $2 million to address social determinants of health throughout the state

Wilmington, Del. (December 16, 2020) — Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware announced today the recipients of its social determinants of health grant cycle through its donor-advised fund, BluePrints for the Community.

The grant cycle opened in September, originally set to total $1 million, in response to the continuously growing needs that existed prior to, but have been exacerbated by, the pandemic. Highmark Delaware decided to increase funding in accordance with the volume and quality of the projects and programs it received, totaling more than $1.9 million.

“We are not at all surprised by the excellent grant proposals we have seen through this grant cycle and we are proud to support 17 grant recipients in the tremendous work they are doing,” said Nick Moriello, president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware. “It was a difficult decision process and we applaud all the organizations that applied for their dedication to our community. They have exemplified that we are all in this together, and Highmark and BluePrints are privileged to take part.”

Key areas of social determinants of health that were considered included economic and financial stability, access to education, transportation, health and health care, including dental/oral health, and neighborhood and environment factors.

“Our Delaware nonprofits have again stepped up to answer the call for those in need and we couldn’t be more proud. While we weren’t able to support every proposal, we ask our colleagues to join us in congratulating the recipients and in, not just applauding the efforts of all our nonprofit friends, but in supporting them,” said Rita Landgraf, Director of University of Delaware’s Partnership for Healthy Communities and Professor of Practice and Distinguished Health & Social Services Administrator in Residence. Landgraf serves as the chair of the Blueprints for the Community Advisory Council.

Recipients and their projects/programs include:

  1. Catholic Charities - Diocese of Wilmington will receive funding to support its Behavioral Health Services Program for low income families to address emotional, behavioral, and mental health concerns.
  2. Children and Families First DE requested funding to establish an EnVision Center site to serve residents of an identified Section 8 housing neighborhood with supports and wrap-around services.
  3. Culture Restoration Project, Inc. will use funding to transform a vacant lot into an impactful arts and culture space for the community in a high needs area called the Sankofa Healing Space.
  4. Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition will receive a grant to support breast health education, screening, navigation, and virtual programs in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties.
  5. Delaware Center for Horticulture requested funding for their Neighborhood Tree Steward Program, which addresses health through green spaces and natural modifications to neighborhood environment.
  6. Family Promise of Northern New Castle County, Inc. will use grant funding to expand services for their Hospitality Center and Network which provides assistance to quickly move families into permanent housing.
  7. First State Community Action Agency requested support for their Home is Health Program to provide in-home assessment of risk factors, installation of Healthy Homes kits, and community education.
  8. Great Oaks Charter School – Wilmington will use their grant to support students and their families in New Castle County with mental and physical health services and community intervention.
  9. Jewish Family Services of Delaware’s Employment Support Network will receive funding, which will use volunteers from different professions to support unemployed individuals in response to the effect COVID-19 has had on unemployment.
  10. NCALL Research, Inc. requested funding to expand their Opioid Outreach and Restoring Central Dover Programs in order to continue current services to the residents of Central Dover and begin serving Dover Housing Authority neighborhoods.
  11. Neighborhood House, Inc. will receive support for a Wellness Coach to serve students engaged with their Learning Hubs program in the Southbridge area.
  12. Sojourners' Place was approved to receive funds in support their comprehensive Transitional Housing Program, which will provide education services, job skills and employment training to help homeless adults become self-sufficient.
  13. Survivors of Abuse in Recovery will get funding to support their Children and Teen Project to provide mental health services to teen-aged survivors of sexual abuse and assault statewide.
  14. Sussex County Habitat for Humanity requested a grant for their Home Stabilization Affordable Housing Initiative, which addressing weatherization, improves accessibility, and provides financial coaching and energy efficient solutions to lower costs for 345 low-income families.
  15. Tidal Health’s Wagner Wellness Program was approved for funding to purchase a mobile health van that will provide health screenings, multidisciplinary health services, education and outreach in low-income rural communities.
  16. United Way of Delaware, Inc. requested funding to expand the $tand By Me Program in response to COVID-19 to provide financial coaching statewide.
  17. Westside Family Healthcare was approved for funding for it Feeding Families Program to address food insecurity, expand access to fresh foods, provide routine nutrition counseling, and teach patients how to better manage their chronic disease. 

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware, along with its enterprise-wide social determinants of health (SDOH) team at Highmark Health, aims to address the confluence of medical and non-medical drivers of poor health outcomes. Enterprise efforts include Highmark’s free and anonymous online resource tool Highmark Community Support, powered by Aunt Bertha. Highmark Community Support is an online, social care network that connects people with social service resources, such as food pantries, transportation services, housing and utility needs, child care, and niche needs for populations like veterans and seniors. Highmark Community Support can be accessed at Highmark is also a sponsor of the Gravity Project, an organization developing consensus-driven structured data standards to support use and exchange of SDOH data that can help identify and measure social barriers, strengthen continuity of care and provide important insights into the intersection between health and social care. 

About BluePrints for the Community
BluePrints for the Community, the donor-advised fund of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware at the Delaware Community Foundation, has contributed over $17 million to the community since its inception in 2007. It was established to serve Delawareans, with emphasis on, but not limited to, the needs of the uninsured and underserved, and to reduce health care disparities in minority population and address social determinants of health.

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware serves approximately 441,000 members through the company’s health care benefits business. It is an influential company in the market generating an economic impact of $135 million and supporting more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs across the state. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit

For more information, contact

Denée Crumrine
Highmark Delaware