Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield awards $100K grant

WILMINGTON — The Delaware Center for Horticulture was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware’s BluePrints for the Community program.
The funds will support an expansion of DCH’s Delaware Neighborhood Tree Stewards Program, which builds local, community-based efforts to care for urban forests through learning, training, advocacy and action.
“Social determinants of health cover a wide array of challenges, some more top of mind than others,” said Nick Moriello, president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware.
“The BluePrints for the Community Advisory Council is pleased to support the Delaware Center for Horticulture’s Tree Steward Program as it aims to improve physical health by way of physical landscape, that is beneficial for not just people, but our environment, as well,” he continued.
BluePrints for the Community, housed by the Delaware Community Foundation, has contributed over $17 million to the community since its inception in 2007. It was established to serve Delawareans, with emphasis on, but not limited to, the needs of the uninsured and underserved, reducing health care disparities in minority populations and addressing social determinants of health.
“The Neighborhood Tree Steward Program is an indispensable part of DCH’s urban forestry and community-engagement efforts,” said Vikram Krishnamurthy, DCH executive director. “Our work in this area is vital to supporting Delaware’s urban forest and strengthening our communities.
“We are honored to be among our fellow grantees, whose service to Delawareans is more crucial than ever. This support from Highmark not only benefits DCH’s programs and those we serve but is a clear recognition of the linkages between the natural environment and health outcomes — links we are strengthening and promoting through DCH’s work.”
DCH’s TSP builds networks on a neighborhood level to plan, design and implement projects — such as street tree-plantings, vacant lot stabilization and streetscape-beautification programs — in low- to moderate-income census tracts, improving the neighborhood and residential quality of life.