Two Central Florida organizations dedicated to offering safe, affordable housing and helping citizens obtain legal identification receive Florida Blue Foundation 2022 Sapphire Award
Seven organizations across the state to share nearly $500,000 in funding
An organization that offers affordable housing to people who need a second chance and an organization that helps people navigate the complexities and financial burden of obtaining legal identification are among seven recipients of the Florida Blue Foundation’s annual Sapphire Awards. The awardees will share nearly $500,000 that will allow them to continue to focus on innovative ideas and programs to improve health equity in their communities.
The Florida Blue Foundation announced the awardees at its annual Sapphire Awards ceremony on May 4 in Orlando. The Florida Blue Foundation is the philanthropic affiliate of Florida Blue, the state’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan. Each of the programs, organizations and individuals is making a meaningful impact in their communities related to advancements in health equity.
The awardees were selected through a robust external review process for their exemplary leadership, innovative ideas and excellence. They all have a track record of success in decreasing health disparities and improving health equity, which directly contributes to positive health outcomes.
For the past few years, Florida has consistently ranked amongst the highest for homelessness, just after California and New York. Having served more than 7,000 individuals, Pathlight HOME, also known as Grand Avenue Economic Community Development Corporation, utilizes the “housing first” model to provide safe, affordable, supportive housing while also offering culinary skills training, case management services, behavioral health counseling and employment opportunities to help formerly homeless men and women move forward in life. As the first-place winner, Pathlight HOME will receive $100,000. Watch their video here. “Pathlight HOME is privileged to serve the vulnerable members of our Orlando community, and we are immensely appreciative of this honor and recognition that will enable us to realize our dreams,” said Babette Allen, President of Pathlight HOME. “We will now be able to offer more transformative programming and units of permanent affordable, supportive housing, with the ultimate goal to open an affiliated medical clinic for our residents.”
Central Florida’s other awardee, IDignity, is a nonprofit that helps low-income and disadvantaged people navigate the complexities and financial burden of obtaining legal identification, such as birth certificates, ID cards or license renewals, or Social Security cards. The documents that IDignity obtains for its clients give them the freedom to apply for work or school, gain access to shelters, seek help from social service programs, open a bank account or cash a check, secure permanent housing, or overcome other obstacles to becoming self-sufficient. This organization received a third-place and $25,000. Watch their video here.
Since 2005, the Foundation has presented 130 Sapphire Awards to programs, organizations and individuals totaling more than $6.3 million.
The Sapphire Awards were presented during the Florida Blue Foundation’s annual two-day Community Health Symposium. This year’s event focused on health equity and attracted more than 600 people from the health care, government, higher education and nonprofit sectors.
“As a mission-driven company focused on helping people and communities achieve better health, we believe everyone deserves to have an equal opportunity to achieve their full health potential,” said Susan Towler, executive director of the Florida Blue Foundation. “By recognizing and rewarding excellence and innovation in those addressing the big issues in health equity, and collaborating with others in our state, we can advance solutions and remove barriers that will help improve health care access and strengthen the communities we serve.” The event featured national and statewide speakers, panel discussions and networking opportunities focused on identifying solutions to reduce health disparities, improve affordability and increase access to high-quality care.
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. The Florida Blue Foundation’s programs are focused on advancing mental well-being, improving health equity, impacting food security and addressing systemic racism and resulting 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 and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit www.FloridaBlueFoundation.com.
About Florida Blue Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company, has been providing health insurance to residents of Florida for more than 75 years. Driven by its mission of helping people and communities achieve better health, the company serves more than 5 million health care members across the state. In total, Florida Blue and its affiliated companies serve more than 46 million people in 45 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., it is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.