Local Initiatives Support Corporation receives 2018 BlueAngel Community Health Grant to transform play spaces

A $30,000 grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island will help support Outdoor Play Interventions program.

PROVIDENCE, RI (April 30, 2018) – The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Rhode Island has received a 2018 BlueAngel Community Health Grant (BACHG) from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI). The $30,000 grant will support LISC Rhode Island’s Outdoor Play Interventions program, which strives to increase safe and healthy play for Rhode Island’s youngest residents.

LISC Rhode Island’s Outdoor Play Interventions program, piloted in 2017, aims to significantly change thinking about the potential of outdoor play spaces, and to make thoughtful, creative and low-cost modifications to those spaces. Based on research about play and engagement, the program will make positive changes to play spaces in early learning centers around the state of Rhode Island, specifically at sites in Warwick, Woonsocket, Providence and Johnston. The goal of these modifications is to increase movement around the play space and improve children’s safety.

We are grateful for our ongoing partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island,” said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC Rhode Island. “With this support, we can expand this proven program to provide innovative and engaging outdoor play spaces for our earliest learners and help forge important habits, improve lifelong physical health and promote greater social skills for our children. This is another initiative that supports the LISC Rhode Island mission to improve the social determinants of health for residents, and to create communities where people can thrive.”

The five facilities selected to receive grants include the Federal Hill House and Genesis Center, both in Providence, the Y’s Owl Nursery School at the Kent County YMCA in Warwick, the Connecting for Children and Families center in Woonsocket and Over the Rainbow Learning Center in Johnston. Each facility will receive funding, a professionally designed plan and extensive technical assistance necessary to implement high-value improvements to their outdoor spaces.

“Partnering with local resources like LISC will be the only truly effective way to move the needle on obesity in our state, specifically in children,” said BCBSRI President and CEO Kim Keck. “It’s an honor to support community organizations dedicated to shaping lifelong healthy habits for Rhode Island’s youth, ensuring them a brighter future.”

LISC’s involvement with early childhood facilities in Rhode Island began nearly eighteen years ago. Founded in 2001, and housed within LISC, the Rhode Island Child Care and Early Learning Facilities Fund (RICCELFF) is a public – private partnership designed to help child care and early learning programs develop safe, high quality learning environments – indoors and outdoors. The Fund provides technical assistance and funding to support projects that expand access to affordable, quality child care opportunities for low-income and high needs children and families. The 2018 BlueAngel Community Health Grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island will help the RICCELFF expand this work and target specific Outdoor Play Interventions that have been shown to improve opportunities for recreation, creative play and problem-solving.

The BACHG program is BCBSRI’s cornerstone grant program, supporting nonprofit organizations working to address critical health issues in Rhode Island. For the past four years, BACHG funding has been directed toward Rhode Island agencies helping to enable and promote a healthy weight for Rhode Island’s children. Total BACHG funding for 2018 will be $252,000. Since the grant program’s inception in 2002, BCBSRI has donated more than $3.5 million to support local nonprofit organizations; impacting more than 274,000 Rhode Islanders. This funding is made available through the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Community Health Fund maintained at the Rhode Island Foundation.

About Local Initiatives Support Corporation

LISC Rhode Island — Together with residents, partners, and local leaders, LISC Rhode Island forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across our state – great places to live, work, visit, do business, and raise families. Our strategies – investing in real estate, increasing family income & wealth, stimulating economic development, improving access to quality education, and supporting healthy environments and lifestyles – work together to improve the health and well-being of our neighbors. LISC has invested $373 million in neighborhoods across our state, helping to create more than 8,000 affordable homes and support the development of more than 2 million square feet of commercial, child care, educational, and community space. We are committed to building strong neighborhoods and healthy communities where individuals, businesses and families can thrive.


Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (bcbsri.com) is a non-profit, community-focused health plan founded in 1939 to help Rhode Islanders finance their healthcare needs. Today, that’s still a big part of what we’re all about. We are committed to improving the health and peace of mind of our nearly 400,000 members by facilitating their access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. Our goal is to improve the quality of life of our customers and of the people of Rhode Island by improving their health for generations to come. We are an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.