Nonprofit Tries To Backtrack On Allegedly Racist ‘Food Equity’ Program

(Screenshot/YouTube/Do No Harm)

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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A North Carolina insurance nonprofit is revising its claim that certain organizations with a “white CEO” will not be eligible to receive a food equity grant, according to its website.

BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) foundation originally offered 10 three-year grants to organizations that are “led by, serving, and accountable to American Indian, Black, Latino, other People of Color and members of immigrant communities” to assist efforts in advancing food equity, according to an archived version of its webpage. Healthy Food Director Merry Davis said during a Jan. 31 information session that organizations “that have a majority people of color staff and staff leadership, and white CEO” would not be eligible for the grants, but that standard is now revoked, its current webpage reads.

“Since we released this funding opportunity in early January, we have received inquiries from potential applicants and others working in the community whose work aligns with the goals of this opportunity, yet whose organizations don’t quite match all aspects of the stated eligibility criteria,” the updated webpage reads. “After careful consideration, we have decided to expand both the number of organizations being supported by this grant funding, as well as the eligibility criteria for those seeking an award.”

Organizations with a CEO who is not a member of the community being served will be eligible to receive funding, the new standards clarify. This differs from the original requirements, which read CEOs must be “American Indian, Black, Latino, other Person of Color, or from an immigrant community,” according to the archived site.

The grants will also be expanded from 10 to 14 and accessible to organizations serving “rural communities.”

The revised webpage did not specifically outline the new eligibility standards for the grant.

“We are excited about this opportunity to broaden the impact of this work and look forward to partnering with many great organizations as we work together to expand access to healthy food across the state,” the webpage reads.

The foundation expanded the grant’s timeline “to accommodate newly eligible or interested applicant,” according to the current webpage.

The “Advancing Healthy Food Equity” funding opportunity was called out by medical watchdog group Do No Harm for discriminating on the basis of race.

“BCBS of North Carolina Foundation got caught red-handed when they tried to inject ugly racial politics into their grant-making process. Discrimination should have no place in our society, yet they were prepared to reject grant applications from non-profits led by white CEOs just because of their skin color,” Laura Morgan, Do No Harm program manager, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Do No Harm, along with BCBS customers and North Carolina state policymakers, will be watching very closely how the Foundation updates the grant’s eligibility criteria.

BCBSNC declined to comment.

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