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Jacksonville, Fla. - October 13, 2023

Florida Blue Foundation, the philanthropic affiliate for the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, announced a $3.1 million investment to enhance mental health for children, teens, families and older adults.

Ten nonprofit organizations across the state share in the investment, which support community-based programs and partnerships that will increase access to mental health services and support.

"Because of barriers like access and stigma, it often takes years for someone struggling to reach out for help,” said Florida Blue President and CEO Pat Geraghty. “It is our duty to ensure critical services like mental health support are available to those who need them. That’s why we are proud to partner with these organizations making a meaningful difference for our neighbors.”

Geraghty made the announcement in Tampa just before hosting a community conversation on youth mental health with area nonprofit organizations, mental health experts and teens.

Three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Brooke Bennett also attended the community conversation to share about her mental health journey. Others participating in the discussion included representatives from some of the nonprofit organizations receiving grants.

“Increasing access to mental well-being support is essential to ensuring families have what they need to navigate the stressors of life,” said Susan Towler, executive director of Florida Blue Foundation. “By partnering with organizations that are addressing complex mental health challenges, we can elevate our impact and work collaboratively to make a meaningful difference in the communities we serve.”

The $3.1 million investment is part of an ongoing commitment by the Florida Blue Foundation to address mental well-being across the state. Over the past four years, Florida Blue Foundation has awarded 51 grants totaling $16.5 million to nonprofit organizations addressing mental health needs in Florida.

 The 10 organizations receiving grants include:

  • AMIkids, Inc. (Tampa Bay) - The Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) initiative provides preventative youth mental health education throughout Florida. AMIkids certified instructors will deliver YMHFA to AMIkids locations serving youth and young adults and provide free YMHFA Trainings to community organizations.
  • The Pensacola State College Foundation, Inc. (Pensacola) - The Pirate CARE: Holistic Approach to Community Health Program will provide trauma-informed counseling and case management services to low-income, high-need, at-risk students (teens, adults, and seniors) and Mental Health First Aid Training to parents and caregivers across Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
  • Indian River County - Parks & Rec Board of County Commissioners (Indian River County) - The purpose of this grant is to continue to increase the mental and emotional health of seniors in two low-income, predominantly African American and Hispanic communities in Indian River County through the continued growth of this program and to conduct in-person wellness programming targeted for vulnerable and isolated seniors.
  • Forty Carrots Of Sarasota Inc. (Sarasota) - The purpose of this grant is to develop healthy coping skills, increase parental knowledge of child development, improve overall family functioning, and prevent childhood trauma by incorporating caregivers into therapy treatment. When working with a family as a whole, therapy builds upon the resiliency and strength of families.
  • Starting Right, Now (Tampa Bay) - The purpose of this grant is to build a community that addresses trauma-related mental health needs. The program will guide homeless unaccompanied youth in reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress and as a result, they can focus on improving other aspects of their lives, such as education, employment, and long-term self-sufficiency.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America (Statewide) - This grant will help train staff at local Boys & Girls Clubs of America to better support the emotional and mental well-being of children. The funding is part of a multi-year investment from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association through which Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the country are helping Boys & Girls Clubs of America implement trauma-informed practices.
  • Winter Haven Hospital Inc. (Winter Haven) - The Center for Behavioral Health (CBH) at Winter Haven Hospital will provide students at Southeastern University's Clinical Social Work program the opportunity to obtain their degree-required internship hours through a paid work opportunity. Students will fulfill their needed internship hours while receiving financial support to encourage them to continue education through graduation and pursue employment in the behavioral health field.
  • Jacksonville University (Jacksonville) - The purpose of this grant is to support underrepresented graduate-level students enrolled in Jacksonville University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program by increasing the number of mental health professionals who will be ready to enter the workforce, while also addressing the immediate need for qualified mental health service providers in the community.
  • Miami Dade College Foundation, Inc. (Miami-Dade) - The Miami Mindfulness program will provide training and educational opportunities in the human services industry for communities, families, and students in Miami-Dade County. The program will allow participants to seek state certifications for short-term CE (Continuing Education) programs and CCCs (College Credit Certificate) credentials to provide linkage to higher-wage mental well-being jobs.
  • Florida Center for Early Childhood (Statewide) - The Better for Babies program will develop 100 clinicians across the state who are specialized in infant/early childhood mental health. Together with the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health, the Florida Center will advance mental well-being for Florida’s young children and their families by helping mental health clinicians earn the credential: Endorsement for Culturally Relevant, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health®.


About Florida Blue Foundation

Florida Blue Foundation enables healthy communities by making grants, building coalitions and embracing solutions that create a meaningful impact in our communities. More than 8 million Floridians have received services as a result of our community investments since our founding in 2001. Florida Blue Foundation is committed to improve health equity by impacting food security, advancing mental well-being, growing healthy communities, and addressing health disparities. Florida Blue Foundation is a trade name of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation, Inc., an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit