Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Pledges $500,000 to Minnesota State Mankato for Scholarship Program, Undergraduate Research

Commitment aims to foster future health, business and community leaders committed to advancing racial and health equity

December 20, 2021 | News Story

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Mankato, Minn.
– Minnesota State University, Mankato President Edward Inch announced today that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has pledged $500,000 over seven years to establish a presidential scholarship program and provide annual support for the University’s Undergraduate Research Center.

The gift will provide for 24 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Presidential Scholarships at the University over seven years. Each recipient will receive $5,000 annually for four years.

Minnesota State Mankato currently awards about 10 new incoming Presidential Scholarships per year. Inch said the addition of the new Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Presidential Scholarships would make a significant impact on opportunities for students.

“We thank Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota for this transformative gift,” said Inch. “It’s noteworthy that this scholarship program will support students from across the University. The scholarships will help prepare our students for future roles as leaders in diverse and inclusive communities.”

In particular, the funding will ideally support undergraduate students studying all majors in education; pre-law; criminal justice; political science; social work; cultural and multiethnic studies; nursing; health science; health informatics; and biochemistry.

Blue Cross has a long history of investing in communities experiencing significant health inequities through collaborations with individuals, organizations and partners who have the greatest potential for impact. In 2020, the company added Racial and Health Equity as a core business functional area, with an emphasis on address the needs of Black, Indigenous, Latine, Asian Pacific Islander, and other people of color across all areas of their business.

“Our aspiration is for these scholarships to help build more career pathways for BIPOC health care practitioners, culturally competent care providers, and future changemakers across all our communities,” said Bukata Hayes, vice president of Racial and Health Equity at Blue Cross. “This thoughtful partnership with Minnesota State Mankato is a pathway to such outcomes and will foster those future community connections that are difficult to create, but crucial for health and happiness.”

In addition to the scholarships, Blue Cross has designated a total of $20,000 over seven years for Minnesota State Mankato’s Undergraduate Research Center, providing even more robust supports for students to build mentoring relationships that enable them to participate in research, scholarship and creative activities.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

For nearly 90 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota ( has supported the health, wellbeing and peace of mind of our members by striving to ensure equitable access to high quality care at an affordable price. Our 2.5 million members can be found in every Minnesota county, all 50 states and on four continents. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 14,546 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which includes 30 colleges and seven universities.

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