July 16, 2020
TOPEKA, Kan. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) announces it has selected Live Well Norton and Norton County, along with 23 other communities in Kansas as grantees for its second phase of Pathways to a Healthy Kansas initiative. This includes 12 returning communities that were selected in the initiative's first phase of grants.
Pathways to a Healthy Kansas is the largest community grant program ever funded by BCBSKS. Since the initiative began in 2016, BCBSKS has donated more than $11.7 million in grants and assistance to communities throughout Kansas. The Pathways program was created to inspire long-lasting, community-wide health and wellness in communities across Kansas.
“We are excited to recognize our second cohort of Pathways grantees,” said Matt All, president and CEO of BCBSKS. “We have been rooted in Kansas for over 75 years and have a commitment to our neighbors to strengthen the health of all Kansans. Through our Pathways initiative, we are making strides toward this goal by helping remove barriers to accessing healthy foods, increasing physical activity and preventing commercial tobacco use. We are thrilled to continue this program with our new Pathways grantees.”
The grant funding includes a coordination grant of $200,000 for each community. In addition, Norton County will have the opportunity to apply for non-competitive implementation grants amounting to $300,000, for a total of up to $500,000.
The Norton Regional Health Foundation at Norton County Hospital serves as the fiscal agent for Live Well Norton, which has the motto of “Health is wealth for our economy and our quality of life.” Katie Allen, executive director of the foundation, led the application process for this grant opportunity.
“The Live Well Norton coalition and I are thrilled to be involved in the Pathways program,” Allen said. “For the next few years, we will be working on projects that sustainably improve community health. This work involves many collaborators, including the City of Norton, schools and businesses, to accomplish our goals, such as improving sidewalks and access to physical activity, enhancing nutritional opportunities, and decreasing tobacco use and other behaviors that contribute to chronic disease.”
The Pathways grant addresses those three behaviors of focus – physical activity, commercial tobacco prevention and healthy eating – that reduce risk for serious health conditions though six areas or work, or pathways. The pathways include Community & Social Context, Neighborhood & Physical Environment, Food, Healthcare, Education, and Economic Stability, and strive to improve conditions that are the drivers of health in a community.
Members of Live Well Norton include Gina Frack, Karen Griffiths, Rita Speer, Bill Johnson, Leslie Pfannenstiel and Chad Manning.