Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas announced on Wednesday that it will donate $5 million to Fort Worth’s Blue Zones project, a public-private wellness program that’s gained support in California and Hawaii.
Half of that amount will go into a Community Catalyst Grant, which will provide a dollar-for-dollar match of public donations. The city needs to raise at least $2.5 million in grant funds by the end of the year to support the project.
Blue Zones started in 2009, based off a series of nine evidence-based “common denominators” developed by a team made up of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists.
The founder, Dan Buettner, visited Fort Worth last year for an assessment. Texas Health Resources footed the $500,000 bill. The goal is to help the city save money in medical expenses, shrink the obesity and smoking rates, improve residents’ diets, and boost physical activity.
According to the Star-Telegram, Iowa, the first state to take up this imitative, improved its standing as the 19th healthiest in the country to the ninth.
“Fort Worth is fortunate to have a business community that understands what it takes to make a difference and bring about real, positive change in our city,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price in a statement. “Our friends at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas believe in the importance of healthy, active living—not just for our residents, but for our businesses as well. This generous donation and the community challenge lay the foundation which enables Fort Worth to work with Blue Zones Project to become one of the healthiest cities in the nation.”