• Expands SAFEchild into 175 additional schools over the next three years
  • Enables Made In Durham to create graduation and career pipeline programs for 14 to 24-year-olds
  • Provides funds for EDCI to offer early childhood support to 350 additional children


DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced today an investment of $1.3 million in three organizations that are working to support early childhood development in Wake and Durham Counties. Funds will go to the Raleigh-based SAFEchild program, Made in Durham and the East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI).


“An investment in early childhood development is an investment in the future of North Carolina,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, President and CEO of Blue Cross NC. “These organizations are dedicated to improving the quality of life and health outcomes for children in the Triangle, and their work is fundamental in improving the long-term health of North Carolinians. As a practicing pediatrician, I know that investing in our children is an investment in our future.”



SAFEchild has been the lead child abuse prevention agency in Wake County since 1992, largely due to the organization’s highly successful “Funny Tummy Feelings” program.

  • The school-based “Funny Tummy Feelings” program teaches children how to address feelings of discomfort in potentially harmful situations. It has been implemented in 50 Wake County elementary schools.
  • Funding will support materials development and staff training needed for the program to expand into 175 additional elementary schools over the next three years. This expansion will triple the number of students participating in the “Funny Tummy Feelings” program from 5,000 to 15,000.  


Made in Durham

Made in Durham prioritizes early education and career development programs for youth in Durham County. Program participants are more likely to succeed in life through access to higher education and living-wage employment.

  • The group primarily focuses on addressing the barriers which prevent young adults from graduating from high school and pursuing a career. By increasing opportunities, participants are better able to eliminate factors that negatively impact overall health.
  • Funding will support the development of graduation and career pipeline programs for the 14-to-24 age group, as well as development of initiatives that address better outcomes through a cradle-to-career system of care for all Durham youth.


East Durham Children’s Initiative

Since its inception in 2011, EDCI has created and refined a model for student success for low-income families in Durham. Working with more than 40 partner agencies, EDCI offers a comprehensive pipeline of services extending from birth through high school that include a bilingual preschool, home visiting programs, out-of-school learning programs, health and nutrition initiatives, and parent education and support.

  • Analysis of program data shows that EDCI is making a measurable impact. Recent achievements include improved early literacy skills; improved parent engagement in children’s development and education; successful prevention of summer learning loss; strong kindergarten readiness rates; and reduced food insecurity.
  • Funding will allow EDCI to expand its proven model for student success to 350 low-income infants and children adjacent to the current service area.


According to the 2018 North Carolina Child Health Report Card, the state scored negatively in child abuse/neglect, healthy lifestyle and mental health.[1] These factors can contribute to chronic high stress or learning difficulties at a young age, and ultimately hurt the brain, immunity and hormonal development.[2] In contrast, positive childhood experiences have been linked to long-term educational attainment, employment status and health.[3]


About SAFEchild:

Established in 1992, SAFEchild is the lead nonprofit child abuse prevention and intervention agency in Wake County working directly with families to help them create nurturing environments free from abuse and neglect.  SAFEchild positively impacts the lives of nearly 9,000 children and parents each year through nine child abuse prevention and intervention programs, including those available at the SAFEchild Advocacy Center. Find more information about SAFEchild at safechildnc.org. 


About Made in Durham:

Made in Durham is a community partnership of educators, business, government, youth-serving nonprofits and young people mobilized around a shared vision that all of Durham’s youth will complete high school and a post-secondary credential and begin a rewarding career by the age of 25.


About East Durham Children’s Initiative:

The East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) is committed to changing outcomes for children and families living in a 120-block area of East Durham referred to as the EDCI Zone. EDCI’s vision is that all children in the EDCI Zone graduate from high school, ready for college or a career. EDCI aims to achieve this vision by providing a continuum of high-quality services extending from birth through high school graduation for children and their parents or caregivers. For more information, visit www.edci.org


About Blue Cross NC:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities by providing innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.89 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. We have been recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute every year since 2012. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.





[1] “2018 North Carolina Childhood Report Card.” NC Child. (2018). Accessed June 2018.

[2] “How Childhood Trauma Can Affect Your Long-Term Health.” New York Times (2018). Accessed August 2018.

[3] “Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness.” Jones, Greenberg and Crowley (2015). Accessed August 2018.