Grant History


Mississippi continues to make progress toward a healthier future, and the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is facilitating this progress by providing the resources, funding and leadership needed to continue in our commitment to a healthier Mississippi.



The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is proud to have provided grant funding to these organizations in 2012:



Building Healthy Communities

City of Tupelo - 2012 Healthiest Hometown


"It's a tremendous accomplishment. It proves that we are recognized for our successes in changing Tupelo's culture to one that will benefit all of our citizens, young and old."
Jack Reed, Jr., Mayor, City of Tupelo

The City of Tupelo won a Healthy Hometown award for its population category in 2010, the inaugural year of the program. Led by Mayor Jack Reed, Jr., Tupelo continued their success by being named Healthiest Hometown in 2012. The Healthy Tupelo Task Force, founded in 2009, is leading the way to a healthier community by integrating the entire community's resources to encourage policy changes and implement programs for its citizens. Health on a Shelf is bringing healthy food options to convenience stores, and city parks and recreational complexes give residents ample opportunities to participate in activities including swimming, tennis, baseball, and more. Integrated into its city parks, more than 10 walking trails are available to citizens. Tupelo also has a variety of farmers markets and policies that support a healthy environment, including a smoke-free policy and a "Three Feet Please" campaign to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe from passing motorists.



City of Greenwood - 2012 Healthy Hometown


"This award validates all the hard work the city has been doing to encourage Greenwood residents to live a healthy lifestyle. We've been very strategic by improving Greenwood's built environment to include new sidewalks, bike lanes, walking trails, landscaping and lighting, so that people feel safe and comfortable while exercising outdoors."
Carolyn McAdams, Mayor, City of Greenwood

As a result of making wellness a top priority, the City of Greenwood won a Healthy Hometown award for its population category in 2012. Community partners are helping to enforce the smoke-free ordinance, and the city has implemented an extensive network of sidewalks, multi-purpose trails, and bike paths to give residents more opportunities to be active. In May 2011, Greenwood became the first Delta community to convert street lanes into bike share lanes. The city is home to numerous road races, including the 200 Oaks Road 10K and the Viking Half-Marathon and 5K. Under the leadership of Mayor Carolyn McAdams, Greenwood is taking advantage of technology when it comes to keeping residents informed of events and activities. The mayor hosts "Health First Greenwood," which airs on local radio stations and gives listeners tips on leading a healthy lifestyle. The Downtown Greenwood Farmers' Market and Old Time Farmers' Market offer opportunities to find fresh fruits and vegetables, and schools are providing healthy, balanced meal options and actively promoting nutrition.



City of Duncan - 2012 Healthy Hometown


"On behalf of the Town of Duncan, I would like to sincerely thank... the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation for its support of our community. We have been working very hard to make Duncan a healthy place and without their support we would not be able to have our wonderful walking trail and the many programs and activities that we plan on conducting with this amazing award."
Charles Harvey, Mayor, City of Duncan

Through its continued efforts to promote health and wellness, the City of Duncan received a Healthy Hometown award for its population category in 2012. A grant from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation in 2011 provided resources for a former railroad bed to be paved for use as a walking trail for residents. The city continued its efforts to promote health and wellness by forming various walking clubs. In 2011, Duncan hosted its first annual "Walk to School Day" for students of Brooks Elementary School. City leadership developed a "Healthy Employee" policy, providing regular exercise breaks for 30 minutes, twice a week and for healthy snack options in vending machines. As a Healthy Hometown award recipient, Duncan is enhancing the Duncan Walking Trail with outdoor lighting, building new playground areas for children, and purchasing supplies for additional community programs including gardens, health fairs, and exercise centers.



Sunflower County Freedom Project


"Our project aims to change food attitudes, habits, and access to healthy food in Sunflower County, specifically the Town of Sunflower, by creating a youth Sunflower Freedom Garden that hosts educational programming, community outreach events, and production plots."
Nick Allen, Executive Director, Sunflower County Freedom Project

Through the "Sunflower County Freedom Garden," 30 middle and high school students who attend after-school and summer programs in Sunflower County participated in the planning and building phases of a garden. Students received lessons in health and science, performed hands-on gardening activities, and learned to prepare healthy snacks using produce from the garden. Daily lessons also included outdoor physical fitness activities.



Mississippi Food Network


"The Community Garden pilot program is a great success for our member agencies and their clients. Providing them with fresh produce each week is exciting since many cannot afford it on a regular basis. Our summer and winter gardens provide our clients with healthy alternatives in the foods they eat. We appreciate the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation for the funding to get our Community Garden program off to such a great start."
Marilyn Blackledge, Director of External Affairs, Mississippi Food Network

Through support from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, Mississippi Food Network is helping selected agencies become self-sufficient in production of most of their produce. In addition to learning lessons about gardening and enjoying healthy foods, clients served by the member agencies also receive nutrition education and participate in healthy cooking demonstrations. This initiative began with the development of three pilot community gardens at MadCAAP (Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty), Midtown Partners in Jackson, and Edwards Street Fellowship in Hattiesburg. The Mississippi Food Network is working to keep these three pilot sites sustainable and adding five additional gardens.



Boy Scouts of America, Andrew Jackson Council


"The major goals of BSA Fit Challenge Course project are built around a philosophy of challenge by choice in the areas of outdoor activity, healthy living, physical and mental fitness. The participants are given positive encouragement to strive for personal and group goals while on the course, and also given instruction on healthy living during debrief and meal times. The course is not intended to be an obstacle course, but instead an exciting dynamic relevant approach to physical fitness and healthy living."
Anthony Haines, Chief Executive Officer, Boy Scouts of America, Andrew Jackson Council

Boy Scouts of America, Andrew Jackson Council is implementing a project entitled "BSA Fit Challenge Course," which will help Scouts and non-Scouts, including youth 13 and above, as well as adults, become healthier. A challenge course at Hood Scout Reservation in Hazlehurst challenges participants mentally and physically. The project includes BMI education and measurement, education about the importance of healthy eating and exercise, implementation of the BSA SCOUTStrong Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Initiative, and active lifestyle events that include a bike race and opportunities to participate in 5K walk/run events.



Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi, Inc.

Through a comprehensive healthy living initiative called "Live Healthy, Lead Healthy," the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi, Inc. targeted girls ages 5 - 18 in an effort to encourage healthy lifestyles. Through this initiative, 5,000 girls and 500 adult volunteers were involved in programs ranging from exercise opportunities, healthy lifestyle engagement and teaching the importance of making healthy choices. Girls measured their BMI and set goals related to physical activity and encouraged others to make healthy choices.



Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi

School health councils play an important role in encouraging students and their families, as well as staff members to be healthy. Through HealthWorks!, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is providing assistance to schools in North Mississippi with development and enhancement of their school health councils.



Building Healthy Universities and Colleges

Copiah-Lincoln Community College


"Copiah-Lincoln Community College supports health and wellness among its employes, its students, and members of the public that it serves. It is exciting to receive the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation funding to complement the important work that has already been done in this area."
Dr. Ronnie Nettles, President, Copiah-Lincoln Community College

The "Wolfpack Wellness Initiative" at Copiah-Lincoln Community College is increasing the wellness options on the Wesson Campus. A lunchtime walking program, stretching and circuit training stations on the college nature trail, and a resurfaced college track are helping students, faculty, staff, and members of the surrounding community become healthier. Baseline health assessments and development of personal action plans provide tools for individuals to take accountability for their own health. Healthy dining options are being promoted, and health and wellness seminars offer opportunities to learn about healthy habits for life.



Delta State University

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation began working with Delta State University in 2009. With support from the Foundation, DSU's Healthy Campus/Community Initiative is very successful, from the implementation of a campus-wide tobacco-free policy to the engagement of the community and local schools in wellness activities throughout the year. Beginning with a required health and wellness class for incoming freshmen, many physical fitness and nutrition education opportunities are provided on campus, including a one-half mile walking trail and a variety of fitness classes, with individual counseling available. On campus, individuals and groups are promoted as Health Champions. DSU staff members participate in health and wellness activities such as the "Watermelon Wiggle" and Staff Olympics. In the surrounding Cleveland area, the "Court Street to Cleveland" and "Walk It Out Cleveland" events encourage residents to participate in walking and running for exercise. In the Cleveland area schools, a C.O.R.E. (Centering on Recreation Education and Nutrition) after-school program and the "Fit-Tastic Fridays" program have engaged school children in exercise and nutrition education. Each of these two programs received a Governor's Award from the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education. O.K.R.A. (Outdoor Kids Recreation Activities) summer day camps afford students aged 6 - 11 opportunities to participate in a variety of physical fitness activities during the summer.



Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University's "MSU on the Move" initiative wellness initiative promoted a healthier atmosphere and culture on the campus, as well as in the surrounding community. More than 100 students lined up to take part in the program, beginning with health screenings to gather biometrics. Students participated in exercise and nutrition programs, including cooking demonstrations, Q&A forums with health professionals and also received online support and resources for developing healthy habits. At the end of the semester, students were re-evaluated to determine how lifestyle changes impacted their health status. The grant also supported the development of a one-mile walking track around Chadwick Lake and additional health education programs for students.



Mississippi State University Extension Service

With funding from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, elementary students throughout Mississippi have an opportunity to participate in Body Walk, an interactive health exhibit that teaches children about the importance of healthy eating and exercise.

Building Healthy Schools

Bell Academy for Math, Science, and Health


"The goal of this project is to encourage students, staff members, and family of Bell Academy to use the walking trail to enhance their physical well-being. Providing a walking trail in a safe environment will help walkers feel secure and more apt to walk daily."
Debbie Fioranelli, Principal, Bell Academy for Math, Science, and Health

A magnet school located in Boyle, Mississippi near Cleveland, Bell Academy received a Project Fit America grant from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation in 2009. The school receives physical education and training on good nutrition from Delta State University students and dietician, an effort that resulted in a Governor's Award from the Mississippi Association for Partners in Education. Thanks to continued support from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, Bell Academy has a walking trail to help students, faculty, and members of the surrounding community become healthier.



Mississippi State University Social Science Research Center


"The purpose of the research is to assess the impact of the Project Fit America program on Mississippi school- age children who are participating in the program. The assessment will specifically evaluate the impact the innovative fitness equipment and accompanying curriculum have had on the health and well-being of school-age children in participating schools."
Colleen McKee, Project Coordinator, Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University

A total of 188 elementary and middle schools across Mississippi have received funding from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation to implement the Project Fit America program. The program includes indoor and outdoor exercise equipment, physical education curricula, and onsite training for PE teachers. Schools receiving the Project Fit America program record BMI and fitness data, along with data related to absenteeism and disciplinary occurrences at the start and end of the school year for two years. Through support from the Foundation, the Social Science Research Center is analyzing the data to understand the positive impact that the Project Fit America program is having on Mississippi's school children.



Raymond Elementary School


"Raymond Elementary School is so thrilled to have a walking track. We have embraced "getting on track" to be healthy. All the students have the opportunity to walk five days a week, and they are loving it! We have seen an increase in student learning and a decrease in discipline not to mention children are making good choice to be healthy! Our philosophy is a healthy student is a successful student!"
Amanda Cook, Principal, Raymond Elementary School

Raymond Elementary School is helping their students, faculty, and members of the surrounding community become healthier through their project entitled, "Get on the Right TRACK - Be Healthy." The project includes a walking trail with goals to create an awareness of the importance of exercising daily and eating healthy foods. Raymond Elementary School's goal is to obtain healthy BMI levels in more than 70% of their students.



Luther Branson Elementary School


"The main goal or end result of this project is to improve our school's environment in promoting fitness activity not only to help improve our students' health and fitness, but to improve the health and fitness of our staff and students' family members and friends in the community that we hope will use our walking track."
Dr. Susan M. Moen, Physical Education Teacher, Luther Branson Elementary School, Canton, MS

Luther Branson Elementary School in Flora received a Project Fit America grant from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation in 2009. The school continues their focus on health and wellness by implementing a walking trail project that includes promoting physical activity not only to improve students health and fitness, but also the health of the staff and members of the surrounding community. Pre and post measurements of BMI and time to run a 1/2 mile or a mile and improving students academic performance are additional goals of the project.



Magnolia Speech School

Learning the language and skills needed throughout life can be especially challenging for children with hearing or language disorders. Through support from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation beginning in 2006, children at Magnolia Speech School are learning these skills in a creative manner through a physical education program.



Fitness Equipment and Health Curricula

In 2012, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation provided grants to implement a fitness equipment and health curricula program from the Project Fit America organization in an additional 24 schools in Mississippi. The fitness equipment and health curricula program includes indoor and outdoor exercise equipment, physical education curricula, and onsite training for PE teachers. Schools receiving the program record BMI and fitness data, along with data related to absenteeism and disciplinary occurrences at the start and end of the school year for two years.


  • Baxterville School
  • Beechwood Elementary School
  • Bolton-Edwards Elementary Middle School
  • D'Iberville Middle School
  • Eupora Elementary School
  • Gautier Middle School
  • Hernando Middle School
  • Itawamba Attendance Center
  • Jefferson Middle School
  • Leakesville Junior High School
  • Long Creek Elementary School
  • North Forrest Attendance Center
  • North Gulfport 8th Grade School
  • Northeast Madison Middle School
  • Pass Christian Middle School
  • Shelby Middle School
  • Shivers Middle School
  • Simpson County Academy
  • St. James Catholic School
  • St. Richard Catholic School
  • T. R. Sanders Elementary School
  • Threadgill Elementary School
  • Trent Lott Academy
  • West Oktibbeha County Elementary School


Physical Education Conference

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation hosted its 4th Annual Physical Education Conference in November, bringing together 20 P.E. teachers from around the state. The teachers participated in an educational session and shared best practices for engaging students and making P.E. classes both exciting and effective. Participants also received indoor fitness equipment and curricula to enhance their schools P.E. programs.


  • Baldwyn Elementary School
  • Bankston Elementary School
  • Brooks Elementary School
  • Canton Academy
  • Central Elementary School
  • Davis Elementary School
  • East Park Lower Elementary School
  • Goodman-Pickens Elementary School
  • Greenwood Middle School
  • Nettleton Elementary School
  • Nettleton Primary School
  • New Albany Elementary School
  • Solomon Middle School
  • Southeast Lauderdale Elementary School
  • Starkville Academy
  • Sudduth Elementary School
  • W.C. Williams Elementary School