Age-Friendly Funding Alerts: Connection, Health & Equity Through Food (CHEF) Grant, BCBS Of MA Foundation, CMS Health Care Navigators

Jun 12, 2024

The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative is pleased to promote the following funding opportunities that help support inclusive age-and dementia friendly communities:

Under the banner of Hannaford’s “Eat Well. Be Well. – A Path to Better Health” initiative, the CHEF (Connection, Health & Equity through Food) Grant Program will fund organizations and projects supporting the needs of diverse older adults, including improving equitable access to food, and increasing opportunities for socialization.

Grants will allow awardees to make investments in programmatic infrastructure, sustainably expand current programming and/or launch innovative, new programming that supports the food and social connection needs of older people. Priority will be given to projects and programs that serve diverse older people, veterans, and older people living with disabilities. Funds can also be used to help find solutions to the root causes of food insecurity and social isolation, including but not limited to poverty, transportation, rurality, and language barriers.

The CHEF program is administered by the Maine Council on Aging and available to Massachusetts-based organizations. See this link for details.

The Special Initiatives Grant Program provides organizations with a one-time grant of up to $50,000 to pilot or launch a new project over a one-year period. This grant is intended to fund projects that empower communities to advance health equity. Projects should positively impact the health or health care related needs of those Massachusetts residents who have been economically, socially, culturally, or racially marginalized. The goal of this grant program is to help these projects be sustained, scaled, and potentially replicated. The Foundation expects to award between 5 and 6 grants during this cycle.

Special Initiatives grant proposals must align with one or more of the Foundation’s three focus areas: access to health coverage and care, access to behavioral health services, and elimination of structural racism and racial inequities in health. Further eligibility requirements and grant guidelines are outlined on the Foundation’s website.

Please visit the BCBS of MA Foundation website for details about how to apply. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to thoroughly review all materials, including the Special Initiatives FAQ.

Each year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) makes grant awards to organizations who serve as Navigators in FFE states. Navigators help consumers prepare applications to establish eligibility and enroll in coverage through the Exchanges, and help determine whether consumers potentially qualify for insurance affordability programs. They also provide outreach and education to raise awareness about the Exchanges. As trusted community partners, Navigators are required to provide targeted assistance to underserved and vulnerable populations within the Exchange service area, which is critical to improving access to health care coverage for communities that often experience a disproportionate burden of disease. In furtherance of the Biden Administration’s goals on ensuring access to and expanding affordable and high-quality health care coverage and improving health equity, Navigators are well positioned to reach historically underserved and vulnerable communities, especially those who continue to face significant health disparities.

Navigators operate year-round—increasing awareness among the remaining uninsured about the coverage options available to them, helping consumers find affordable coverage that meets their needs, and assisting consumers beyond the enrollment process to ensure they’re equipped with the tools and resources needed to utilize and maintain their health coverage all year. The increased funding available to applicants through this Funding Opportunity will enable FFE Navigators to further expand their reach, with a renewed focus on outreach to diverse, underserved, and vulnerable communities.

Details and application info are available here.