Insight Grants

Featured Grant Opportunity: BCBS South Carolina Foundation

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of South Carolina is making grants to 501c3 non-profits and government agencies located in and serving target populations in South Carolina.

We’re including basic information on the grant below. Be sure to visit the BCBS South Carolina Foundation grants page for full details and access to the required Letter of Intent form.

Program Overview: The BCBS of South Carolina is making grants for the following topic areas in 2014: Prevention of Obesity, Child/Adolescent Health, Community Health, Health Care and Free Medical Clinics, Mental Health, Nursing Issues, and Research/Special Topics. Details on the focuses of each topic area can be found at the BCBS South Carolina Grants Page.

Award: The funder site indicates there is no specific request limit or range, and that all requests should be justified and reasonable. We contacted the funder to try to obtain a bit more detail here, and the contact responding reiterated the Foundation does not have a specific award range and the importance of providing clear justification for all grant requests.

Who Can Apply: 501c3 non-profits and government agencies located in and serving target populations in South Carolina.

When is the Deadline: There are two grant cycles in 2014. One cycle is in the Spring, and one is in the Fall. For the first cycle, those interested in applying must submit a Letter of Intent using the foundation’s two-page form to be received by 5pm next Wednesday,  2/19/2014.  The Letter of Intent may be emailed, mailed, or hand-delivered but must be received by 5pm on the deadline day. The funder notes that overnight deliveries are discouraged since all packages received by the Foundation are first delivered to the corporate mail room. Actual receipt by the Foundation of items sent overnight may take up to three days. Therefore, overnighting your Letter the day before the deadline will most likely mean your letter will be received by the Foundation AFTER the deadline and not be considered.

After reviewing your letter, if the Foundation is interested in your proposed project, the Foundation will request a full grant proposal and indicate the deadline for that proposal.

How Much Work is Involved in the Application? The required Letter of Intent form is brief and allows you to provide a very quick overview of the key components of your project and the population you’ll serve. Due to the short length of this form, and the funder’s requirement responses be limited to the two-page form, completing and submitting it should not require much time at all. We anticipate that most potential applicants with clear ideas in mind about who they will serve, what they will do, and how much that will cost should be able to complete the form in a week or less. The Foundation indicates that cover letters, letters of support, commitment, or recommendations should NOT be included in the submission.

The amount of work required to complete a full application, if requested, is unknown, but we anticipate it would be a typically significant amount of time. Applicants who are asked to complete full grant proposals should be prepared to provide full details on all aspects of their proposed projects and should allow themselves several weeks to prepare their proposals.


We’ll continue to add more  featured grant opportunities to the Insight Blog. If you would like more information on Insight’s grant writing, editing, or research services, please contact us by phone at 716-474-0981, email, or fill out our online contact form.

The Impact of the Economy on Grants: Part 1—Cancellations

In previous years, cancellation of an announced grant competition was rare. Not so anymore. As the economy has continued to sink in the last year, cancellations have begun to surface. While they still certainly aren’t common, they’ve strayed far from unheard of.

Here are a few examples we’ve come across in our work in the last year. South Carolina Department of Health’s Prevention Partnerships Grant, designed to leverage community partnerships for health prevention efforts (including obesity and obesity-related chronic disease prevention and reduction) was cancelled just a few days prior to the deadline. The reason cited was that the money simply wasn’t there to make awards as expected due to the economic challenges facing the state. Goody’s Good Deeds for Schools, a grant created through a partnership between Goody’s Family Clothing stores and Ashley Judd, was cancelled at some point after the grant deadline had past, again due to an unexpected lack of funds. It seems now, unfortunately, this grant aimed at funding a wide range of needed school projects, has been ended permanently since the website ( is no longer active.

We’ve heard stories of other programs—both state and private—that have been unexpectedly cancelled after a competition announcement was made, as well. Since funding available for foundations is often linked directly to the profit margin of a corporation, many more foundations have continued to make awards but have been forced to make fewer than they’d like or than they’ve made in the past. These trends are almost certain to continue until the economy becomes stronger. That said, even though the risk of program cancellation and competition for grants that do move forward have increased, I do not advise shying away from applying for anything (and nearly everything) that feels like a strong fit for your organization’s needs, goals, and resources. You’ll never see a check if you don’t apply! :o) Plus, while cancellations have become more of an issue in the past year, they are still relatively rare. Most organizations know prior to RFP release that at least some funds will be available for grant awards, so your risk of investing time and effort into a grant competition that is ultimately cancelled is still reasonably low.

What has your experience been this year with this issue? Please share!!

Insight Grants