Improving the physical and mental wellness of participants is a driving force behind the annual Governor’s Cup, which returns to Helena on June 12, 2021. The fact that it is once again being held following last year’s cancellation also means funds are being raised to positively impact the health of Montanans across the state.
The Governor’s Cup, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, serves as the primary fundraiser for the Caring Foundation of Montana. The foundation helps support health care services, such as immunizations, health screenings and oral care, by partnering with local providers and health departments.
The foundation removes barriers to preventive health care. Not only does the program travel thousands of miles every year bringing needed services to rural and underserved areas, but the foundation covers all out-of-pocket costs for most services during scheduled Care Van events.
Since 2014, it has provided access to more than 22,000 free or reduced-cost vaccinations. BCBSMT in 2018 launched its nonprofit Caring Foundation of Montana to improve vaccination rates and offer other health services to rural and underserved Montana populations.
It is fitting that a program focused on improving the health of Montanans would have one of the state’s longest-standing running events serving as the primary fundraiser.
“The annual Governor’s Cup is integral to the Caring Foundation of Montana’s mission to help provide access to preventive health care regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay,” said Kamille Kirchberg, administrator of the Caring Foundation of Montana. “Through the funds raised with the Governor’s Cup, the Care Van program has been able to serve more than 25,000 Montanans.”
After being grounded for most of last year, the distinct Care Van® vehicles have been out on the road through the first half of 2021 helping distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
The Care Van has facilitated 72 COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Lewis and Clark, Jefferson, and Teton Counties. The mobile COVID-19 clinics have provided access to 2,135 COVID-19 immunizations.
"The Care Van is about helping provide access to health services,” Kirchberg said. “The largest portion of our Care Van services are immunizations, so it is a natural fit to help disperse the COVID vaccination. With the demand for COVID vaccine so high, we are looking at every avenue possible to help our partners get the vaccine out.”
For more information on the Caring Foundation of Montana and the Care Van program, please visit www.caringfoundationmt.org.