CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Allots $2.2 Million for Diverse Nonprofits and Small Businesses

Investments will bolster economic recovery, growth and sustainability in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia, impacting over 30,000 people

Baltimore/Washington, D.C. – Today, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst), the largest not-for-profit health plan in the mid-Atlantic region, announced a grant investment of up to $2.2 million to 16 small businesses and diverse nonprofits in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia collectively serving over 30,000 people. These grants will provide resources and guidance to address obstacles that negatively impact company growth, scalability and long-term sustainability. The investments build on CareFirst’s commitment to addressing economic inclusion needs to improve social support, minimize barriers to accessing care and social services and address essential environmental conditions that shape the health of its communities.

“As a community champion and leader in social impact, CareFirst is committed to removing obstacles to health equity, such as economic instability,” said Stacia Cohen, Executive Vice President of Health Services for CareFirst. “In order to address inequities in our region, we must also address social and economic inequality such as racism, poverty and discrimination. The health of a community does not lie entirely within the walls of a doctor’s office, which means our investments must work to address factors outside of clinical interventions.”

To identify needs and challenges impacting economic growth and development in the region, CareFirst conducted key interviews with community-based organizations to inform the priority areas for the funding, which include:

  • Capacity Building: Provide training and technical assistance to elevate operations such as data systems, resource generation and leadership development.

  • Capital Enhancement: Position new or existing nonprofits, small businesses, or entrepreneurs to increase access to and manage new capital funding and in-kind resources.

  • Workforce Development: Assist new or existing nonprofits or entrepreneurs in implementing employment initiatives that help hire locally and create, sustain and retain a viable workforce.

Special consideration was given to organizations led by Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), returning citizens, disconnected youth, seniors, individuals with greater health risks, persons experiencing homelessness, populations with limited English language proficiency, structurally disinvested communities, developmentally disabled, justice-involved individuals, LGBTQ+, physically disabled, veterans, etc. Special consideration was also given to organizations that support or directly provide healthcare-related services or programs addressing the social determinants of health (SDOH) or social and environmental factors that impact health outcomes. Organizations receiving funds include:

  • Bmore Empowered (Baltimore, MD)

  • The Urban Oasis (Baltimore, MD)

  • Fusion Partnership/Brioxy (Baltimore, MD)

  • Parity Baltimore Incorporated (Baltimore, MD)

  • Heaven on Earth Now (Baltimore, MD)

  • Safe Alternative Foundation for Education (SAFE) (Baltimore, MD)

  • Human Services Coalition of Prince George’s County (Prince George’s County, MD)

  • Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations/Maryland Latinos Unidos (Maryland)

  • Echoing Green (Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County, MD)

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington (Washington, D.C.)

  • Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif) (Washington, D.C.)

  • Friends of Anacostia Park (Washington, D.C.)

  • Greater Washington Urban League (Washington, D.C.)

  • INROADS, Inc. (Washington, D.C.)

  • Capital Youth Empowerment Program (CYEP) (Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia)

  • ServiceSource (Northern Virginia)

“CareFirst is taking a multi-sector, multi-disciplinary approach and working closely with local organizations to enhance the wealth and health of our communities,” said Kimberly Harris, Director of Community Health and Social Impact for the National Capital Area at CareFirst. “To do this, we must break down the systemic and historic inequities in the region. Minority-owned small businesses and nonprofits often experience challenges such as raising capital, external biases related to discrimination and more. We hope that through these grants, we can create meaningful change in regional economic stability to improve the whole health of our communities.”       

CareFirst remains committed to addressing economic relief in the region and quality, affordability, and equity in care for people and their communities. To learn more about CareFirst’s grant opportunities and focus areas visit CareFirst’s Community website.

About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

In its 85th year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit healthcare company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.6 million individuals and employers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2021, CareFirst invested $26.2 million to improve overall health, and increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of healthcare throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at and our transforming healthcare page at, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.