Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation Awards $1.5M in Grants; Welcomes Kristine Rhodes to Board of Directors

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to 20 Minnesota nonprofit organizations. Eighteen of the 20 grants are part of the Foundation’s Equitable Care and Coverage program, which seeks to increase healthcare coverage across Minnesota, support community solutions to accessing equitable care and increase awareness about communities most impacted by a lack of healthcare access. 

The majority of Equitable Care and Coverage grants will be used to fund local outreach navigators, who connect with fellow community members who are uninsured and eligible for programs like MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance and support them throughout the enrollment process. These efforts remain critical, particularly during the current redetermination process that requires enrollees to renew their enrollment to maintain their health coverage.   

"Healthcare coverage is vital, and for approximately one in four Minnesotans, that coverage is acquired through the state’s healthcare programs,” said Bukata Hayes, chair of the Blue Cross Foundation board, and vice president of racial and health equity and chief equity officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. “Communities of color, Indigenous communities, the LGBTQ community and those in a lower income bracket face significant barriers to accessing the coverage and care they need. These grants are the latest way the Foundation is working to advance racial and health equity — by partnering with our grantees to pave the way for everyone to live their healthiest life.” 

The following organizations were selected to receive Equitable Care and Coverage grants. Learn more here

  • African Community Services, Minneapolis 
  • African Community Senior Services, Minneapolis 
  • CARE Clinic, Red Wing 
  • Children’s Dental Services, Minneapolis 
  • Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio, St. Paul 
  • Generations Healthcare Initiative, Duluth 
  • Hmong American Partnership, St. Paul 
  • Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, Minneapolis 
  • Minnesota Navigator Coalition, Minneapolis 
  • Minnesota Seeds of Justice, Worthington 
  • Native American Community Clinic, Minneapolis 
  • Northpoint Health and Wellness, Minneapolis 
  • Northwest Indian Community Development Center, Bemidji 
  • Open Door Health Center, Mankato 
  • Portico Healthnet, St. Paul 
  • Rainbow Health, St. Paul 
  • United Community Action Partnership, Willmar 
  • University of Minnesota’s State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC), Minneapolis 

Two organizations were also awarded grants as part of the Foundation’s Healthy Start program, focused on improving access to and quality of early childhood care and education, particularly for vulnerable young children and their caregivers. These grants will support family home visiting and early childhood screening efforts, which connect families with critical health and early education resources to support their children’s healthy development.  

  • Minnesota Coalition for Family Home Visiting, Minnetonka 
  • Way to Grow, Minneapolis 

The Foundation is also excited to announce the addition of Kristine Rhodes to its board of directors. Rhodes is the founder and CEO of Asemaake, LLC, which focuses on improving programs and systems centered on the health of Indigenous communities. With decades of experience working to elevate the health of Indigenous people, Rhodes focuses on building authentic partnerships across tribal, academic, government, and philanthropic sectors for innovative, sustainable and culturally grounded initiatives.  

Rhodes is an enrolled citizen of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and a descendant of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. She earned a Master of Public Health in Public Health Administration & Policy and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Community Health Education, both from the University of Minnesota.

“We are thrilled to have Kris join our board,” said Bukata Hayes. “It remains critical that the Foundation’s board of directors be representative of the communities we serve throughout Minnesota. Kris' expertise and insights will be essential as we continue building healthy generations by advancing racial and health equity in partnership with our grantees.” 

About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation  

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation builds strong community partnerships to advance racial and health equity, awarding more than $75 million to over 600 nonprofits since it was established in 1986. For more information on Blue Cross’ grantmaking programs, visit  

Source: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation