Superior Health Foundation

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan partners with Superior Health Foundation to address food inadequacies in schools during COVID-19 pandemic


In rapid response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and its effects on school-age children in the Upper Peninsula, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is committing philanthropic dollars to the Upper Peninsula to provide funding to public schools to ensure lunches are available. 

Blue Cross is committing $12,500 in its first phase of funding, while the Superior Health Foundation – a health-centered, non-profit organization in the Upper Peninsula which has readily agreed to act as the fiduciary of the funds – will provide $12,500 in matching funding. 

“Blue Cross has been actively engaged in school-based nutrition programs for more than a decade in Michigan, so we know the urgent need that some kids have to get their meals at school.  It’s critical to identify and feed these vulnerable kids while school is out,” said Daniel J. Loepp, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan president & CEO, in a prepared statement. “The community’s response to this pandemic is incredible.  All of this work reinforces that we can best overcome this crisis by working together.”

Statewide, Blue Cross will provide $500,000 to support the efforts of community-based organizations across Michigan to provide meals to vulnerable kids as schools across Michigan close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and support other efforts to protect seniors and other populations in need. Blue Cross joins many other organizations in this effort. The Superior Health Foundation’s Grants Committee overwhelmingly agreed to match the initial funding.

“We are in unprecedented waters, but as an organization and team, we fully understand the needs to ensure our children receive proper food and nutrition during this very difficult time,” said Jim LaJoie, executive director of the Superior Health Foundation. “We are honored to act as the fiduciary for this vitally important initiative.” 

School districts can apply for up to $500 in initial funding to help with food expenses. SHF is partnering with the Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency (MARESA) to identify key contacts at U.P.-wide schools to jumpstart the application process. 

“The funding is in hand and we will work closely with the school districts across the region to distribute checks as soon as we possibly can,” LaJoie said. “It’s truly a collaborative effort.”

Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath. Simple measures like washing your hands often with soap and water can help stop viruses like coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading. For more information, contact LaJoie at the Superior Health Foundation at 225-3431 or email jlajoie@superiorhealthfoundation.org.

About Superior Health Foundation

The Superior Health Foundation is a health-centered, grant-giving organization serving the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It provides funding to address equipment, health education and program needs to support non-profit organizations across the Upper Peninsula for the health benefit of all Upper Peninsula residents. For more information, visit superiorhealthfoundation.org.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.5 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.

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