TOPEKA — NetWork Kansas announced it has awarded $250,000 in grants from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS). The grants have been given to nine colleges and small businesses in Kansas that are making personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers with low supply during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The funding is part of the BCBSKS Blue Health Initiatives Trailblazers grant that was given through NetWork Kansas. Trailblazers builds partnerships to blaze a trail to a healthier future by finding innovative solutions that improve social determinants of health, increase access to care, and streamline the coordination of services.
These grants will allow businesses to develop PPE, such as 3D printed face shields and disposable stethoscopes, cloth masks, healthcare worker and patient gowns, and hand sanitizer. The businesses are all Kansas based contributing back to local economies, as well as helping the healthcare system.
The awardees, with one grantee withheld per their request, are as follows: Alderman Acres Manufacturing, Inc., Coffeyville, $32,000; Emporia State University, $32,000; Wichita State University, $37,000; Fab Lab, Independence, $25,000; Fuller Industries, Great Bend, $31,000; Hodgeman Economic Development, Jetmore, $21,000; U.S. Awards Inc., Pittsburg, $25,000; New Age Industrial Corporation Inc., Norton, $15,000.
“We are proud to provide relief where we can to organizations across our state that are working hard to meet the needs of all Kansans,” said Matt All, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. “We care deeply about our communities and are committed to providing assistance where we can. NetWork Kansas is doing an incredible job of keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive and strong during this time while also helping those on the frontlines, and we are grateful for that work.”
“NetWork Kansas is thrilled to work with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas on this grant project to ensure Kansas health providers are getting the PPE equipment they need,” said Steve Radley, president & CEO, NetWork Kansas. “These BCBSKS grant investments will accelerate delivery of PPE equipment and build capacity in businesses and other entrepreneurial organizations for the future. “
NetWork Kansas is a nonprofit that works to grow small businesses in Kansas and foster an entrepreneurial spirit among Kansans. This is one of several initiatives that NetWork Kansas is involved with to help small businesses and communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To learn more about these relief efforts and additional measures, visit the NetWork Kansas website and BCBSKS website.