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Grantees Announced for Advancing Health Equity Within Latino Communities

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is excited to announce that nine organizations have received multi-year funding as part of a recent open opportunity to support Latino-led and serving organizations and coalitions to develop or deepen their focus on advocacy for health equity.

“North Carolina’s Hispanic and Latino populations are quickly growing,” said Marquita Mbonu, Program Manager for Blue Cross NC Foundation. “There is currently a strong network of community-rooted Latino-led and serving organizations committed to advancing health equity within Latino communities across the state. This funding is a great opportunity to bring them together and support their ongoing efforts and vision for a healthier future.”

The intent is to support organizations, coalitions, and grassroots groups – particularly those with strong ties and trust within the Latino community – to deepen their focus on health equity and advocacy, bringing them together as a powerful voice for change with more significant influence at the state, local, and community levels.

To draw on the wisdom of the field and to mitigate blind spots and biases, the Foundation engaged external reviewers to participate in the review and selection process. This group was comprised of community leaders with lived experience, Latino community connections, and advocacy expertise.

Each organization will receive $300,000 of grant funding over two years. They will also come together regularly to learn from each other, identify shared priorities, and access technical assistance that supports their shared and unique needs.

By doing so, the goal is to build toward aligned strategies that reflect the diversity of Latino experiences across the state by deepening trust and relationships in the community to connect lived experiences at the local and regional levels to shape and influence policy changes in the future. These grants are part of a $6 Million Blue Cross NC Foundation commitment to advance advocacy for Latino health equity over the next five years.

The organizations selected to receive funding include:

Association for Mexican Americans (AMEXCAN) is an organization that advocates for immigration reform, legal status for illegal immigrants, better health care, and educational opportunities for the Latino population in North Carolina. As part of this collaboration, they will work across issues related to health care access, mental health, and social isolation. Their organization has a history of convening around social determinants of health, has established networks that come together to learn and share resources, and they hold strong relationships with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services along with public health departments.

Centro Unido Latino Americano (CULA) Hola Carolina, Unidxs, and Vecinos, a coalition led by CULA. Centro Unido Latino Americano is a nonprofit that creates safe spaces, establishes cross-cultural partnerships and promotes social justice, health equity, and inclusive education opportunities for the Latinx community and beyond. Hola Carolina is a grassroots organization focused on amplifying stories and voices of the Latino community to create change. Unidxs is focused on health care, education, communication, and transportation in western North Carolina. And Vecinos is a medical home for Latinx living in western North Carolina that brings strong advocacy experience with health care providers and public health departments.  Collectively, they strive to advance Latinx and underserved communities when faced with a barrier that they have no control over. Some of their programs are born from the inclination to mend families that face barriers which have hindered their economic, social, health related, and environmental growth. Together, these organizations will build on a history of partnership to leverage resources and coordinate advocacy strategies to increase capacity for regional and statewide collaborations, while working across issues of mental health, community safety, and health care access.

El Centro Hispano is a known advocacy leader with strong state, county, and community partnerships working to strengthen the community, build bridges, and advocate for equity and inclusion. The organization plays a key role in forging strategic alliances, providing training and technical assistance, serving as a fiscal sponsor for grassroots organizations, and – as part of this effort – working to address issues related to education, economic development, workforce, health & well-being, and civic participation.

El Pueblo is a nonprofit organization based in Raleigh, specializing in leadership development for both youth and adults among Wake County’s growing Latinx community. They have a strong history in policy and advocacy work including key partnerships with law enforcement and the legislature. Their focus will span across issue areas of youth leadership, voting, and safety.

Episcopal Farmworker Ministry works with agricultural workers and immigrant families in eastern, rural North Carolina. They coordinate direct services, leadership programs, community education programs, and advocacy in support of the community. As part of this initiative, they intend to work with agricultural workers on issues of health care access and workplace safety and have a core group of community leaders that is activated and mobilizing as a result of COVID-19 outreach and engagement to address community conditions.

FaithAction International House serves and advocates for new immigrants and refugees and their families, provide ID cards to individuals who may not currently have access to government issued forms of ID, including homeless and elderly individuals, those recently returning from jail, and others who believe in a diverse and inclusive community. They also build transformational relationships between theologically and culturally diverse faith communities and provide educational trainings to schools, social service and health agencies, faith communities, city departments, nonprofits, and businesses. They will work across issues of safety and voting.

HENDFACT is a small grassroots team with experience in forming alliances and advocating at the national level that is focused on connecting its rural roots to larger advocacy systems. For this effort, they’ll be working across issues of workplace safety, community safety, and health care access.

NC Field is a nonprofit organization that works with migrant and seasonal farmworker youth and families utilizing grassroots organizing principles to teach leadership, promote education, and facilitate opportunities. For this, they will bring deep expertise working alongside agricultural workers with a particular emphasis on child labor, prenatal and maternal health, and youth leadership as issue areas for advocacy. Their organization brings national campaign experience along with key partnerships with other grassroots nonprofit organizations, community leaders, faith-based organizations, health departments, health care providers, emergency services, and others.

Western North Carolina Workers Center builds power among workers of color through organizing, education, and direct action from an intersectional standpoint to promote worker justice. For this, they will continue their advocacy framework for campaigns led by poultry workers and other general industry workers to address workplace safety and related issues. Their organization brings a history of centering workers voices in North Carolina and beyond with key allies and partners including the North Carolina Farmworkers Advocacy Network, North Carolina Justice Center, Department of Labor, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ###

About the Blue Cross NC Foundation

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is a private, charitable foundation established as an independent entity by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina in 2000. Over the past two decades, the organization has worked with — and supported — nonprofit organizations, government entities, and community partnerships across the state, investing $190 million into North Carolina through nearly 1,300 grants. Within its focus areas of early childhood, healthy communities, healthy food, and oral health, the Foundation strives to address the key drivers of health, taking a flexible approach designed to meet identified needs in partnership with the community.