Kendra Witt-Doyle is the Executive Director of the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health.

Our team and board of directors were excited when the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health received a surprise, unrestricted and unsolicited $6 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

The donation validated our work and commitment to all people who live in Idaho. While we were the recipient of these funds, they really are a gift to our state. The Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health is in Idaho, for Idaho. We are committed to being partners in Idaho and creating transformational change. We view our job as to be good stewards of these funds to continue to build a healthier Idaho by addressing root causes that impact health.

We’ve spent the past few months creating a strategy to use this generous gift, and this plan was recently approved by our board of directors. I’m happy to share our strategy and priorities for using these funds.

We plan to distribute the $6 million over the next few years. This allows us to expand existing initiatives or add new initiatives without adding staff.

Our Foundation team constantly listens to partners and looks at data to find out what root cause and upstream issues are impacting health and our state. Through our own research and participation in workgroups, we’ve identified five key areas to focus on with these funds:

  • Behavioral health
  • Early education
  • Healthcare workforce
  • Housing
  • Leadership development among community leaders

We took a “deep dive” into these issues and went through a process with staff and board leadership that explored the causes to these issues and where the funds from MacKenzie Scott could create impactful, sustainable and transformational change.

There are many ways to address these issues impacting the health of our state. We have set goals and priorities that we will pursue and make happen over the next few years. Some goals directly tie to our own programs, including Community Health Academy. Other goals pledge support to connect key audiences to needed skills and training. Some of these goals will be to help support existing work or launch new efforts.

We once again thank MacKenzie Scott for this generous donation and investment in our work and the State of Idaho. We look forward to using these funds to build a healthier Idaho by giving back to the state by addressing the root causes that impact health.