Blue Cross NC is making an intentional investment in building the capacity of organizations led by or serving historically underrepresented communities and people of color.

We can only push health care further when all our communities are strong.

We are collaborating with nonprofits to make this happen.

To achieve health equity, we must work to dismantle unjust systems and provide resources to people whom existing structures have failed to serve.

  • When we focus on those whose need is greatest, we improve health care for everyone. Part of our strategy is investing in historically under-resourced groups that have the knowledge and skills to best serve North Carolina’s people and communities of color.
  • By intentionally investing in organizations and communities that have been under-resourced, we support the health and well-being of all our communities.
  • We are excited to launch this unique take on capacity building. We hope to become a leader in empowering nonprofits to better fulfill their mission, now and in the future.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) exists to improve the health and well-being of our customers and communities – we won’t stop until health care is better for all.

The Who

Each Strengthen NC organization:
  • Primarily serves Black, American Indian, Hispanic and other people of color in North Carolina.
  • Works to promote health equity in historically underserved communities.
  • Works to address disparities in maternal health and/or behavioral health.
  • Is a 501(c)(3) organization.

The What

Organizations selected for Strengthen NC will receive:
  • Unrestricted funding.
    We will invest up to $50,000 per year for two years in up to ten qualifying organizations.
  • Leveraged expertise.
    Pro bono consulting, peer mentorship and workshops with internal and external experts. We will help your organization work through its unique challenges and develop the skills that you consider critical to success.
  • Increased visibility.
    We will use our statewide reach to boost awareness of your organization throughout North Carolina.
  • A support network.
    Through Strengthen NC’s cohort-based model, all organizations will work together and learn from each other.

Tell us what your organization needs. We will work together to make it happen.

Please refer to the Program Overview for a projected timeline of Strengthen NC

The Why

Organizations that fully understand the needs of people and communities of color can make the most impact. Racism and underfunding often obstruct these groups’ efforts to develop their capabilities and expand their reach. At Blue Cross NC, we know that no community can be healthy while racism exists. We work to combat this and drive real change.

We see Strengthen NC as a partnership. When we provide financial assistance, time and resources to your organization, we learn from you. You are dialed into the communities you serve and know them best. Working with you keeps our company connected to our purpose and helps us advance true equity in North Carolina.

Learn more about Strengthen NC.

We are no longer accepting Letter of Intent (LOI) submissions for 2021. Read our Program Overview and FAQs to learn more about our program.

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What is the application process?
  • All interested organizations complete a Letter of Intent (LOI) form that features a few brief questions. After we review all submitted LOI forms, we invite select organizations to participate in a virtual interview. After the interview process, internal review and evaluation, we announce the organizations selected for our cohort.
  • LOI forms were due November 19, 2021. We will announce the selected organizations by early January 2022.
What are the eligibility requirements to apply?
  • Any 501(c)(3) organization is eligible. Organizations that are incorporated in the State of North Carolina as a nonprofit organization can apply with a fiscal agent who is a 501(c)(3). Your organization must either be based in North Carolina or serve those who live in North Carolina.
  • Your organization must be led by and for communities of color. “Led by” could mean any of the following:
    • Executive Director identifies as a person of color
    • 50% or more of your staff identify as people of color
    • 50% or more of your Board of Directors identify as people of color
What can I expect as a participant of the program?
  • We view Strengthen NC as a holistic approach to capacity building that includes funding, peer mentoring, network building, technical assistance, training and more. To ensure that we meet your organization’s needs, we want you to work alongside us to co-design the overall program.
  • For the power-sharing design to be effective, we rely on each organization’s active participation throughout the two-year program.
  • Please review the Program Overview  for a projected timeline of each participating organization’s commitments.
  • We acknowledge that there will ultimately be scheduling conflicts at some point over the two years, but we ask for your best effort at participating across all program modules. Attendance will be required for both the cohort kickoff and cohort closing, and we ask for at least 75% attendance for the remaining cohort connections. Peer Mentoring, Pro Bono Projects, Facilitated Consulting and Additional Scholarship offerings are all value-added offerings, and you will have the ability to decide what fits best for your organization.

U38898, 11/21