Blue Safety Net Grant

Independence Blue Cross Foundation

Grant amount: Up to US $100,000

Deadline: Jul 31, 2018

Applicant type: Hospital / Clinic

Funding uses: General Operating Expense, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Pennsylvania: Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County

Location of residency: Counties in Pennsylvania: Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County

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Strengthening the Health Care Safety Net

Blue Safety Net grants are awarded by the Independence Blue Cross Foundation (IBC Foundation) to nonprofit, privately funded community health centers that provide free or affordable care to our local communities.

In addition, the Blue Safety Net program strengthens the entire health care system by supporting health centers that:
  • increase access to care in medically underserved communities; 
  • improve patient coordination and communication among community health centers;
  • develop innovative approaches that achieve sustainability;
  • promote projects that address specific health care gaps and obstacles to care.

Increasing Access to Quality Health Services

Community health centers serve as the primary source of care for many uninsured and underinsured individuals, and are often the only viable option available to these patients. Without these centers, individuals are forced to rely on expensive emergency room visits as their primary source of medical care, increasing the cost of health care for everyone. By providing less expensive and more practical alternatives to the emergency room, Blue Safety Net-supported community health centers help save our region nearly $12 million in health care costs annually.

Community Health Centers and Health Care Reform

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the expansion of Medicaid in Pennsylvania have changed the health care landscape and increased access to health care for over 30 million people nationwide. Local community health centers remain an essential factor in the success of the ACA as the safety net providers of affordable, quality health care in underserved communities.

Unrestricted funding

General operations: These grants provide core support for operating expenses that are critical in the delivery of care.

Organizations may request up to $100,000.

Targeted Funding

Special projects: These grants are intended to build capacity by supporting specific projects or programs that seek to address either quality of health care services or access to health care through: 

Incorporating or Furthering a Coordinated Care Model 

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is committed to supporting health centers as they improve and maintain their quality medical care in their local neighborhoods. This special project initiative will help Blue Safety Net grantees to meet and exceed quality provisions introduced by the Affordable Care Act. Examples of eligible projects include:

  • Health centers who wish to increase quality of care delivered may choose to seek new or additional accreditations such as: PCMH Levels 1, 2, or 3; Joint Commission accreditation; any other nationally recognized accreditation organizations.
  • New or enhanced models of care that incorporate the complex, interconnected nature of mental health and physical health into daily primary care practices:
    • Integration of behavioral health into primary care: co-location, coordination, or full integration
    • Adoption of trauma-informed care practices in order to mitigate the long-term effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) 


Increasing Access to Health Care through Technology or Other Services 

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation will also be funding special project initiatives that address real and perceived barriers to care in the communities served by Blue Safety Net grantees. Examples of eligible projects include:

  • Telehealth to support long-distance care, especially for those with significant time and mobility barriers
  • Additional specialty or ancillary services such as dental or vision, on-site or in a mobile capacity
  • Expanded health center hours tailored for a specific patient population 

Organizations may request up to $75,000 for special projects in these areas.

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


  • To be eligible for a Blue Safety Net grant, an organization must:
    • Be a nonprofit, privately-funded health clinic or health center (note: a clinic may receive federal funding as part of its revenues);
    • Provide free or nominal-fee primary medical, dental, or vision services to the uninsured and underserved;
    • Be located in one of the five counties (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia) in southeastern Pennsylvania;
    • Have a mission that aligns with that of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation;
    • Meet the general eligibility guidelines of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation.
      • Be classified as tax-exempt nonprofit under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code
      • Be located and/or serve the five counties in southeastern Pennsylvania: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties
      • Have a mission that aligns with the goals and funding priorities of the IBC Foundation
      • Be able to identify specific, measurable, short and long-term goals for the project
  • Additional Targeted Funding eligibility requirements: 
    • Targeted Funding Eligibility Requirements:
      • Meet the general eligibility guidelines of the Foundation
      • Must meet all Blue Safety Net eligibility requirements
      • Must have a minimum organization operational budget of $500,000


  • We do not fund:
    • Grants to individuals
    • Endowments
    • Award dinners
    • Fund-raising events
    • Capital construction
    • Conferences, seminars, trips, or camps
    • Political causes, candidates, organizations, or capital campaigns
    • Sports teams
    • Religious groups for religious purposes
    • Organizations that do not align with the mission and goals of the IBC Foundation

About this funder:

View past grantees & full 990 summary