Meet the foundations that took home NCRP Impact Awards

Awardee for Corporate Foundation: Blue Shield of California Foundation

Peter Long, President & CEO Blue Shield of California Foundation

Peter Long, President & CEO
Blue Shield of California Foundation

Blue Shield of California Foundation is a private philanthropic organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and making health care accessible, effective and affordable for California’s underserved. The foundation remains the state’s largest private funder of domestic violence services and prevention – investing more than $65 million since 2002.

The foundation recognized the opportunity – and incentive – to bridge the divide between its programmatic areas when the Affordable Care Act expanded coverage for domestic violence screening as part of women’s preventive health visits. In early 2014, it launched the Domestic Violence and Health Care Partnerships Initiative, which aims to achieve a more integrated and effective system of care for families and individuals experiencing, or at risk for, domestic violence. Through a competitive application process, the foundation selected 19 teams, each composed of a local domestic violence organization and a community health center, to partner and develop cross-sector solutions. Many teams are located in medically underserved communities in California with high rates of domestic and sexual violence.

The initiative is designed to produce systems change on both sides of the partnership. For example, a grantee health center in Los Angeles is working with its local domestic violence partner to initiate a program that improves access to health information and services for victims of abuse. During monthly “Health Celebrations,” health center staff visit their domestic violence partner organization to provide clients with English- and Spanish-language workshops on key health issues for women. As a result, both grantees report that they’ve seen an increase in engagement and use of health care services among domestic violence survivors. The increase is especially pronounced among survivors who reported never having had a well-woman exam, and those who have had exams but had no knowledge of their medical results.

In addition to supporting these non-traditional partners to work together in new and different ways, the foundation is funding a peer-learning network that brings all 19 teams together throughout the year to build relationships and share challenges, learnings and approaches. Virginia Duplessis, program manager at Futures Without Violence – the organization funded to facilitate the learning network – said she is already seeing the peer-to-peer component of the initiative as essential to its success.

“Although they are serving many of the same clients, the health and domestic violence fields have traditionally been siloed,” Duplessis said. “Having regular opportunities to learn from each other and share perspectives has been a powerful tool. You can see the light bulbs going on and a commitment to maintaining these cross-sector partnerships.”