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New 'Blue Fund' to fund health-focused initiatives

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is creating a fund that is expected to award about $1 million to $3 million in grants each year to Western New York organizations and initiatives that have a positive impact on key health areas.

The Blue Fund will target initiatives that address behavioral health, cardiovascular health, diabetes, health care workforce development, healthy children and the opioid epidemic, among others, organizers said. The focus of the fund will be onareas that have the greatest impact on the overall health  and well-being of the region.

The Blue Fund will be in addition to the health insurer's current corporate giving program, which awarded more than $2 million to local groups and programs last year.

Michael Ball, the former regional director of Empire State Development in Buffalo, has been hired to lead the fund's launch and manage the initiative.

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