Building a Healthy Mississippi

Mississipp 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:

Building Healthy Communities

Healthy Heroes Program

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation provided grant funding for additional periods of the Healthy Heroes Program to continue in four municipalities. A total of 28 Mississippi municipalities have implemented the Program over the past decade. Uniformed police officers and firefighters received training by the Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Healthy Schools and health and wellness experts at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi on how to teach healthy eating and exercise lessons to students in grades K-5. With educational materials provided by the Foundation, police officers and firefighters visit their local K-5 schools teaching students the value of making healthy food choices and leading them in fun physical activities and a community walk at each school for students, faculty, staff and neighborhood residents. For their willingness to participate in the Healthy Heroes Program, the Foundation provided each municipality with grant funds to enhance public health and wellness and promote community healthy eating and/or exercise. The cities funded for the Healthy Heroes Program in 2022 include:

Mississippi Children's Museum - Jackson

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation became the signature sponsor of the Healthy Gallery at the Mississippi Children’s Museum (MCM) with a grant award in 2006, part of which created and built the “Gastro Climber,” an interactive climbing structure allowing children to travel through the human digestive system. In 2022, the Foundation awarded a generous grant to MCM to reimagine the Health Gallery’s original conceptual designs, schematic designs and construction and installation of the new Healthy Habits at Home Exhibit. While the “Gastro Climber” remains in place, new unique, engaging exhibit components and activities introduce children and families to the steps of a healthy bedtime routine and the importance of sound sleep. The exhibit also includes an interactive modern kitchen experience introducing guests to a vast array of healthy foods and teaching them about the health benefits of proper nutrition.

University and College Tobacco-Free Policies Strengthened

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is providing ongoing support to Mississippi’s universities and colleges by encouraging strengthened tobacco-free policies that align with the Model Policy for a Smoke-free College/University as published by the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF). Grant funds are provided for support of general health and wellness at the university or college, excluding support of athletic teams. The following universities and colleges have received grants from the Foundation in 2021 to strengthen their tobacco-free policies:

Building Healthy Schools

Building Healthy Schools | Playgrounds

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation gifted elementary schools across the state with new 21st Century playgrounds. Studies show creating environments for children to experience unstructured play supports their physical health and increases their chances of succeeding in the classroom. Schools selected to receive a playground either did not currently have a playground or had a playground that was aged and in disrepair. Each of the 5,380 square foot inclusive playgrounds include turf safety surfacing, shading systems and 24 pieces of play equipment. Teacher education curriculum was also provided. The curriculum was created as a best practice guide for promoting overall fitness and fun through the use of outdoor play environments. The evidence-based curriculum is aligned with national physical education standards. The schools awarded playgrounds by the Foundation include:

School Garden Program

In 2022, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation awarded school garden grants to two Mississippi K-12 schools, bringing the total number of school gardens funded to 74 since 2015. School gardens offer hands-on learning with opportunities for students to observe everything from seeding to harvesting to tasting, which helps them understand how healthy foods grow. Teachers are connecting the school garden with classroom curricula such as science, math, reading, culinary art and physical education so students can learn about healthy cooking, eating and environmental sustainability. The schools awarded school garden grants by the Foundation include: