Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois to Help Promote Wellness

Grant to support the expansion of preventive care and resources in Chicago

Mercy Housing Lakefront announced that it has been awarded $50,000 in grant funds from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois to help expand access to health and wellness care and resources. 76 organizations around the state received grants as part of the Blue Impact Fund™, which was launched in July.

Mercy Housing Lakefront President, Mark Angelini, shared, “We are excited to be training a new cohort of Community Health Workers (CHWs), who can use their lived experience to help residents address behavioral health challenges.”  One of the new hires is a current Mercy Housing Lakefront resident, who is currently working in a different community from where they live. “This generous grant will help us address the needs of residents living in MHL’s Permanent Supportive Housing communities in Chicago around substance use, which has been identified as a growing need,” Angelini added.

Behavioral Health Community Workers Hired

Mercy Housing Lakefront will use the grant for behavioral health Community Health Workers, who will support substance use services for three high-need Chicago Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) communities. The funding will support their compensation, training costs, and program expenses.

The Blue Impact Fund focuses on social determinants of health, and BCBSIL has identified five categories to support non-profit partners working to improve health equity and access in their communities:

  • Economic Opportunity and Stability: Addressing issues such as poverty, removing barriers to employment, providing good jobs, and skills improvement.
  • Nutrition: Supporting efforts to decrease hunger and increase access to nutritious food.
  • Neighborhood and Built Environment: Focusing on affordable healthy housing, access to transportation, and access to physical activity.
  • Locally Defined Health Solutions: Addressing hyperlocal health and human service needs.
  • Optimal Health Outcomes: Helping close gaps in care, specifically around six priority areas: immunizations, diabetes care, cardiovascular care, behavioral health, early detection cancer screening, and maternal and infant health.

“Mercy Housing Lakefront has long been committed to supporting local residents with health services, and we’re excited to work with them to address the social determinants of health,” stated Tonita Cheatham, Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. “We’re delighted to expand our grants program this year and we look forward to building alliances with nonprofits that work to strengthen their communities.”

“Part of what is unique about this program is that people are using their lived experiences to relate to residents,” Angelini added. “This is an opportunity for us to build on the success of our current Community Health Workers, who are focused on chronic physical health conditions, and respond to areas of increasing need.”

For more information about the organization’s work, visit