Tell us why housing is an important philanthropic focus for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI.
CB: We know from listening to Rhode Islanders, particularly through the RI Life Index, that one of the most significant barriers they perceive to Rhode Islanders' ability to attain health and well-being is lack of access to safe, affordable housing. Frankly, safe and healthy housing is the foundation for good health outcomes. That’s why it makes sense for us to focus our philanthropy in this area, as we work to build a healthier state for all Rhode Islanders.
What impact do you hope your support will have in the community?
CB: We are honored to partner with several organizations with a long history of addressing Rhode Island’s housing challenges. We hope that with our support, these organizations can continue their efforts on behalf of our most vulnerable residents. Additionally, we hope that our support inspires other leading local companies to consider directing their philanthropy towards safe and affordable housing.
How long has BCBSRI been partnering with Crossroads?
CB: Our partnership with Crossroads goes back two decades. We’re a longstanding proud sponsor of Women Helping Women, an event that many of us at BCBSRI have attended since its inception. We have collaborated on many, many, volunteer engagement opportunities as it’s important to BCBSRI to have our colleagues out in community and contributing to important missions in meaningful ways.
We’ve enjoyed a really thoughtful partnership over such a long period of time and have been honored to provide funding and grant support to a variety of Crossroads’ programs and interventions, skilled volunteers to serve on the board, and general community support.
What do you wish people knew about homelessness?
CB: I wish people understood that homelessness can happen to anyone – it does not only affect people with chronic behavioral health issues or substance use disorder. Just one stroke of bad luck can lead to sudden homelessness for working people who may be living paycheck to paycheck. We know from HousingWorks RI’s most recent Factbook that there is essentially no place in Rhode Island with affordable rents for people earning the state median income.
Tell us why partnering with Crossroads is valuable to BCBSRI.
CB: Crossroads is a trusted community organization known both for its compassionate and practical approach to fighting homelessness in our state for decades. As a relative newcomer to the housing space, BCBSRI continues to listen and to learn, and our partners at Crossroads have graciously offered us invaluable guidance as we continue to shape our philanthropy in this arena.