BCBSM Foundation Catalyst Fund

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: Up to US $5,000

Fields of work: Health & Medicine

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building

Location of project: Massachusetts

Location of residency: Massachusetts

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About this funder:



NOTE: In response to the growing needs associated with COVID-19, the Catalyst Fund is only accepting proposals from grassroots organizations responding to community needs caused by the virus. 

BCBSM Foundation Catalyst Fund

The Catalyst Fund provides one-time non-renewable grants up to $5,000 for a twelve-month period to help community-based health care organizations strengthen their capacity to expand access to health care in Massachusetts. Since 2002, the Catalyst Fund has distributed over $1.4 million to more than 426 grants to health centers, clinics, health care advocacy groups, and community-based organizations. The Catalyst Fund is made possible entirely with donations from employees of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. 


Nonprofit organizations that serve the health and health care needs of low-income and vulnerable residents of Massachusetts often operate under limited resources and capacity to entirely fulfill the needs of community members and staff. While implementing large-scale initiatives, or trying to keep up with the demands of ongoing operations, organizations are often forced to be more reactive as opposed to proactive. As a result, launching new initiatives to strengthen their infrastructure, or taking time to plan for the future or ensure sustainability, can be a luxury. The Catalyst Fund is intended to help organizations pay for some of the activities that can move them forward, position them for future opportunities, and as its name implies, help spark innovation. 

Key Program Elements and Eligibility Criteria

The Catalyst Fund provides one-year, non-renewable grant awards up to $5,000 for capacity-building expenses to Massachusetts community-based organizations to address a health or health care component of their work. The Foundation will accept applications from community health centers, community-based organizations and social service organizations, even from those for which health is not a core activity or emphasis; as long as a compelling connection to health or health care is demonstrated as a focus of the proposed work, applications will be accepted for review. Examples of activities that could be supported include:

  • Hiring a consultant grantwriter or fundraiser (only organizations that do not currently have this capacity on staff will be considered); 
  • Technology enhancements, including website development, or purchasing equipment and software;
  • Medical equipment and training (automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, are not eligible);
  • Cost of hosting community meetings to engage stakeholders and constituents;
  • Leadership, professional development or technical training opportunities for staff or board members;
  • Strategic planning activities through the services of a consultant; and 
  • Production of marketing or outreach materials. 

Requests for other types of capacity-building activities will be considered if they fulfill the one-time nonrenewable capacity building criteria.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Grants will only be made to Massachusetts-based organizations that serve the health or health care needs of low-income and vulnerable residents of the state.
  • Proposals for the Catalyst Fund will be accepted from organizations that are tax exempt under section 501c3 of the IRS code.
    • If an organization does not have its own tax exempt designation following the above specifications, it must provide proof of tax exempt designation for a fiscal agent. 


  • Preference is given to organizations with limited resources that serve low-income and vulnerable consumers.


  • Hospitals and hospital affiliated organizations are excluded from consideration for these grants.
  • Grants are not intended to cover recurring general operating funds such as salaries of staff members, overhead costs or membership dues.
  • The Catalyst Fund also does not support conference or gala sponsorships, nor capital campaigns.
  • Grants will not be made to individuals, for-profit entities, hospitals, academic institutions, or religious institutions.


This page was last reviewed November 27, 2020 and last updated May 29, 2020