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'Connect for health' challenge is live!

Yesterday marked the launch of the Connect for Health Challenge, a new grant making initiative of the Blue Cross Foundation, which plans to award up to $500,000 to nonprofits, schools, and units of government to support efforts that strengthen social connections in Minnesota communities. Challenge judges will select up to 20 grantees to receive up to $20,000 each. The recipient of one larger grant (up to $100,000!) will be determined by Minnesotans in an online statewide vote.

To learn more about the Challenge, watch this video:

Social connectedness is defined as strong bonds with family, friends and neighbors and feelings of support, trust and shared values. It is about how people come together, interact and network.

People who have strong relationships with friends and neighbors are more likely to be involved in their communities, perform better in school and live happier and healthier lives. These community relationships can be the relationships between family, friends, neighbors, and members of the same neighborhood, professionals or co-workers. Efforts to solve community problems not only require strong community relationships but build them along the way.. In contrast, social isolation has highly adverse effects on health, particularly among low-income and the elderly individuals.

Grounded in this very basic theory, Blue Cross Foundation intends to reward examples of social connectedness leading people being involved in their communities, performing better in school, and living happier and healthier lives. The initiative will recognize community groups, neighborhood committees, non-profit organizations and professional networks working to build happy and healthy communities across Minnesota.

Use this link to submit your project for the Challenge

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