Doing Our Part To Improve Montana’s Health

One of the contributing factors to rising health care costs is the notion of “upstream health” – the social and environmental factors that contribute to your overall wellbeing. We know that eating well, staying active, not smoking, and getting your regular doctor check-up all influence our health.

But it’s more than that.

Our health is also determined in part by access to social and economic opportunities – the resources and support systems in our homes, our neighborhoods, and our communities; the quality of our schools; the safety of our workplaces; the cleanliness of our food, water and air. All of these things contribute to higher health care costs for everyone.

So what is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) doing about it? In short: Everything.

Big Blue Sky Initiative Major Grants
Since 2014, BCBSMT has awarded nearly $1.8 million in Big Blue Sky Initiative major grants, funded through the Healthy Kids, Healthy Families initiative. These grants are part of an ongoing commitment to invest in and partner with nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children and their families in the five following areas: nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management, substance abuse prevention, and suicide prevention.

2022 grants

2021 grants

2020 grants

2019 grants

2018 grants

2017 grants

2016 grants

2015 grants

2014 grants

Community Investments and Volunteerism
Each year, BCBSMT supports communities throughout our state with grants and sponsorships, and through a robust volunteer program. Promoting health and wellness is one of our core business goals, and it drives our community involvement. We’re dedicated to helping Montana be a healthier place to live, work, and play. Here’s how:

Understanding What Communities Need

It takes more than a one-time grant or service project to make a lasting difference in the community. So, we seek out, support, and partner with organizations that already understand how to best meet the needs of their community and we do what we can to help their programs succeed. We annually provide more than $400,000 in funding to like-minded nonprofits in the form of grants and sponsorships.

Being There

The best way to help a community is to be an active part of it. BCBSMT has a presence at diverse events throughout the state, sponsoring the health and wellness booths, volunteering in events throughout the year and coordinating healthy activities like the annual Governor’s Cup running event. Our employees volunteer more than 7,000 combined hours every year.

Governor’s Cup and Kids Marathon

Sometimes all it takes to start a fire is a little spark.

That’s the thought behind the Governor’s Cup road races, which are held annually on the second Saturday in June. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana presents the annual event in Helena to provide people with a fun and festive opportunity to celebrate the benefits of exercise and healthy lifestyle choices with their friends and neighbors. The event also serves as the primary fundraiser for The Caring Foundation of Montanasm.

For more than 45 years, the Governor’s Cup has sparked fires inside the bellies of numerous participants in the marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K, and Kids Marathon and Fun Run. Dating back to the first race in 1974, the Governor’s Cup has seen more than 150,000 participants cross the finish line with about 3,500 expected to take part annually. That’s a lot of sparks and the hope is that most of those have resulted in fitness fires still burning hot.

Kids Marathon

The event’s diverse menu of races sets the Governor’s Cup apart, and the Kids Marathon adds to that tradition.

The Kids Marathon program is free and designed for elementary school students in the Helena area, with the hope to expand its reach in the coming years. Governor’s Cup organizers are working with area schools to introduce a Governor’s Cup training program that culminates with a 1-mile Fun Run around Centennial Park to complete the marathon distance and kick off the weekend’s festivities.

Students who take part in the entire program receive a free T-shirt and entry into the Fun Run. But more importantly, the Kids Marathon is intended to provide students with an incentive to be more active and to enjoy the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices, which goes to the heart of the Governor’s Cup’s mission.

KaBOOM! Playground Builds

BCBSMT partnered with KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, to build a playground in one day from 2014-2019.

The Caring Foundation of Montana and Care Van
The Caring Foundation of Montana (CFMT) works to ensure all Montanans have access to preventative health care services, regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay. Through partnerships and sponsors across Montana, CFMT provides these services at low or no cost to individuals of all ages. Our efforts focus primarily on rural and frontier communities that have little or no access to health care services. The Care Team, through our Care Van® program, has traveled more than 150,000 miles to deliver 45,000+ vaccines, health screenings, educational resources, and preventive services in 47+ Montana counties since 2014.

The Caring Foundation of Montana is registered as a 501(c)3, meaning all contributions will be tax deductible. Additionally, 100% of every dollar will go directly toward providing preventative services. Registration fees for the Governor’s Cup go directly to the Caring Foundation of Montana as well, so run or walk to support access to health care.

For more information please contact The Caring Foundation of Montana Executive Director Bryan Haines at