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In the News: Blue Shield of California Foundation Makes A Grant to Stop the Spread of COVID-19

Blue Shield of California Foundation made a grant to the new intiative by the Public Health Institute (PHI) to fight coronavirus in at-risk communities.

The effort, called Together Toward Health, is launching with $20 million, which includes a contribution from Blue Shield's foundation.

Debbie Chang

In an Oct. 22 release, PHI described the effort.

"The Public Health Institute will coordinate Together Toward Health, which will connect with community based organizations to expand workforce development opportunities for Californians most impacted by COVID-19, and create and amplify public outreach efforts to reduce its spread. The California Endowment, the Conrad Hilton Foundation and the California Wellness Foundation were responsible for early leadership and planning support for the initiative, and the overall fund goal is to reach at least $25 million to help address the vast needs in communities at-risk and hard hit by COVID-19."

In a statement, Debbie I. Chang, MPH, president and CEO of the foundation, explained why the foundation made the grant.

"COVID-19 has worsened the inequities in our society, hitting hardest those communities that already face income inequality, discrimination, health disparities and whose living and working conditions can put them at greater risk of exposure," she said.

"We are proud to work together with philanthropic partners and Governor Newsom to increase resources for California’s COVID-19 contact tracing programs, with the goal of recruiting and training a more culturally and linguistically diverse contact tracing workforce," Chang said. "The Together Toward Health initiative will help immediately to fight the spread of the coronavirus, while creating employment pathways for the most-affected communities and strengthening public health response for the long term."

Read the full release from the Public Health Institute here.