Syracuse, NY

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield announces recipients of 2021 Health Equity Awards

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield announced today the recipients of its 2021 Health Equity Awards. The awards represent more than $388,000 in financial support the nonprofit health insurer is providing to community programs that address racial and ethnic health disparities across its upstate New York service area. 

"Through these Health Equity Awards, we are honoring our pledge to invest in organizations that strive for equitable treatment and the elimination of discrimination for all people so they may have an opportunity to live healthier and more secure lives,” said Excellus BlueCross BlueShield President and CEO Jim Reed. “We believe we have a duty to lead by example and inspire positive change within our company, our industry, and broadly in the communities we serve. This work furthers our commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Access, which guides us in all we do.”

Last August, Excellus BCBS invited organizations to apply for awards of up to $30,000 each to help fund programs to improve health equity in communities of color, especially within Black and Latino communities. These segments of our community continue to suffer from health care and social disadvantages due to racism and discrimination. Award categories include, but were not limited to, improving the community’s physical health and mental health, reducing social disparities in health care, and ensuring access to health care services. 

The funding from Excellus BCBS will support 18 nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations across 39 counties of upstate New York. With more than 150 applicants, a comprehensive review process included input from individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to assess each proposal. Grant recipients were selected based on clear, defined goals and measurable results for reducing health disparities and improving health equity.

“We are a nonprofit health insurer with more than 4,000 employees who call upstate New York their home,” said Jessica Renner, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Southern Tier regional president. “Improving the health and quality of life in the communities we share with our members supports our mission. By funding these local initiatives, we will improve access to care and advance specific health outcomes and improve health equity.” 

In the Southern Tier region, $35,000 is being awarded to support the following initiatives:  

  • Boys & Girls Club of Binghamton - Helping Underserved Youth Make Healthy Choices: Funding will support four health-focused, educational programs for the Boys & Girls Club of Binghamton that target Black and Brown children in high need areas.
  • Catholic Charities Food Bank of the Southern Tier - Needs Assessment Recommendations for Reaching People of Color and Immigrants: The goal of this program is to reduce health disparities and improve the availability of healthy, nutritious food to communities of color and immigrants.  Success of this program will be measured by the level of reduction in the service gap to immigrants and people of color.

For the latest information on the health plan’s community investments and partnerships, members, providers and employers are encouraged to visit

Melissa Klinko, (607) 725-6695

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company's mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit


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