Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Awards 2015 Community Health Grant to Partnership for Providence Parks

PROVIDENCE, RI – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is awarding one of six 2015 BlueAngel Community Health Grants (BACHG) to the Partnership for Providence Parks’ Providence PlayCorps program, which utilizes parks across the capital city to provide young people in low-income neighborhoods with free play, creative exploration and nutritious meals over summer breaks. The PlayCorps program is managed through a collaboration between the Partnership for Providence Parks, the City of Providence’s Healthy Community Office, the Department of Parks & Recreation, and the Providence Children’s Museum. More than 1,000 youth are expected to participate in this summer’s program.

The PlayCorps program is built on the idea that play is an effective way to build healthy bodies, healthy minds, and healthy neighborhoods. The program increases youth access to physical activities, improving overall park safety and positive behaviors, while providing adult role models for participating youth. The program also fills a critical nutrition need: 90 percent of Providence Public Schools students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and PlayCorps ensures students have access to free healthy meals during summer months when school is out. Healthy food and physical activity are two critical components in preventing childhood obesity.

The costs of childhood obesity are real: if the average body mass index in Rhode Island was reduced by five percent it could lead to health care savings of more than $850 million in 10 years and $2 billion in 20 years. Healthcare stakeholders and nonprofits are working together to create healthier environments for Rhode Island’s children in an effort to reduce the impact of the epidemic. For the second year in a row, the BlueAngel Community Health Grant program will focus on this critical issue. This year, six new grants and three transitional grants totaling $319,000 will be awarded to 2014 BACHG recipients.

“We continue to be very proud of the impact local community organizations have made through the support of BACHG,” said Michele Lederberg, chief administrative officer and general counsel for BCBSRI. “PlayCorps is a successful partnership working to solve the problem of students losing access to physical activity and healthy meals over summer months. We are proud to support PlayCorps in helping to ensure young people stay active and well-fed even when they’re not in school.”

The BACHG program awards local organizations that teach and support healthy habits, from better nutrition to increased physical activity. BCBSRI accepts and reviews proposals for the BACHG program once a year. Each letter of intent received is reviewed to determine compliance with eligibility and funding priorities. Grant award winners were notified in December 2014 with funding to begin in January 2015.

The Partnership for Providence Parks was established in 2012 to bring together the Parks Department and Friends Groups throughout the city of Providence with the businesses, non-profits and schools who understand the value of flourishing green spaces in the community.

About the BACHG Program

The BACHG program was launched in 2002 and has touched the lives of more than 240,000 people in the state. The program is a key component in BCBSRI’s vision of enhancing the quality of life for Rhode Islanders by increasing the quality of and access to healthcare services. The BACHGs are made possible by the BCBSRI Community Health Fund, a corporate donor-advised fund of The Rhode Island Foundation.


Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state’s leading health insurer and covers more than 550,000 members. The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @BCBSRI, and like us on Facebook at

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