Anthem Blue Cross Foundation Awards $465,000 to Increase Basic Needs Support for California Community College Students

Anthem Blue Cross Foundation Awards $465,000 to Increase Basic Needs Support for California Community College Students

Grant dollars will be used to distribute direct emergency financial aid to students in healthcare training programs and expand efforts to fight student hunger.

SACRAMENTO, CA—October 15, 2020—The Foundation for California Community Colleges (FoundationCCC) announced today that it recently received a grant of approximately $465,000 from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation to help address students’ abilities to meet their basic needs amid lost wages and the transition to virtual learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant funds will be used by community colleges to distribute emergency financial aid to respiratory therapy and nursing students, as well as to expand FoundationCCC’s CalFresh Outreach Project and Fresh Success Employment and Training programs.

In April 2020, FoundationCCC launched the Campaign for Relief and Recovery through the California Community Colleges to support students, families, and communities affected by COVID-19. One of the campaign’s initiatives was the First Response Healthcare Student Support Fund (First Response Fund), an effort to help students overcome the adverse financial impacts of the ongoing pandemic, while also addressing California’s pressing need to advance students in healthcare fields. 

In its first round, the First Response Fund distributed emergency financial assistance to more than 800 nursing students. Anthem Blue Cross Foundation’s generous donation will approximately double the number of healthcare students receiving aid. Nearly $300,000 will be used to provide up to 800 respiratory therapy and nursing students in target regions with urgently-needed resources to cover costs deemed most pressing for the Fall semester. This includes costs for food, rent, technology and connectivity for online learning, household items, fees for licensing exams, childcare, and more.

“Our California community colleges are critical to educating the next generation of front-line healthcare workers,” said Beth Andersen, President of Anthem Blue Cross Commercial Plans. “That’s why the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation is proud to partner with the FoundationCCC to provide emergency financial aid to students in healthcare training programs and expand efforts to address student hunger to ensure our future healthcare heroes are able to complete their studies.”

In addition to the emergency supports, $165,000 of Anthem Blue Cross Foundation’s grant will be used to increase student access to critical resources such as nutrition and employment training. Funding will be used to help raise awareness of the availability of CalFresh, California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program, to help low-income students access nutritious food and other resources.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation has provided to California Community College students through this gift,” said Keetha Mills, President and CEO of the Foundation for California Community Colleges. “COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our students, and we know how far these resources can go to help our students continue working toward their educational goals.”

Additionally, funds will support the expansion of the Fresh Success program, which offers employment and training services to CalFresh recipients, so they can improve their job skills and future employment opportunities. With Anthem’s support, the Fresh Success program will grow the number of participating counties, community-based organizations, and community colleges it works with to expand student opportunities to gain new skills, secure better jobs, and improve their overall economic futures.

“Anthem Blue Cross Foundation’s support will make a tremendous impact on the lives of California Community College students by providing more opportunities and access to the essentials they need to succeed with their education and become self-sustaining healthcare professionals,” said Dr. Barsam Kasravi, President of Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal Plan. “We are proud to be working with FoundationCCC to further our mission of improving lives and communities. Furthermore, we look forward to seeing these students achieving their goals and standing on the front lives with our other healthcare heroes.”

To learn more about the Foundation’s COVID-19 response efforts, visit More information about the CalFresh Outreach Project can be found at or, with Fresh Success materials available at


The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 116 colleges with 116 campuses serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the Facebook and Twitter.

About Anthem Blue Cross Foundation
Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association promotes Anthem Blue Cross’s commitment to improving lives and communities. Through strategic partnerships and programs, the Foundation addresses the social drivers that will help create a healthier generation of Americans in communities that the company serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on critical initiatives that make up its Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts and programs that benefit people with disabilities. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross names and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association. To learn more about the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, please visit and its blog at

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