Generating ideas, connections, and action

Social Connectedness as a Philosophy, Strategy and Result

Lessons About Leadership and Social Connectedness
from the Work of Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota

I was honored to join the BCBS MN board several years ago because I am a big fan of their social determinants of health and health equity work.  I was invited to help the board think about how to integrate leadership into their program work.  I hope that they have benefited even half as much as I have from this relationship. Their commitment to social connectedness as a critical strategy for improving health outcomes has taken my thinking about leadership in some new directions.


During the last BCBS board meeting I found myself thinking about how social connectedness is expressed in grantmaking decisions and as a way of doing business.  You will find social connectedness embedded in the Foundation’s leadership work, in their social equity grants and in their grantmaking engagement strategies, and I would like to explore how all of this is cultivating leadership.  Building social connectedness creates opportunities to engage more people in leadership. 


For several years now, LLC has been lifting up the work of groups that honor leadership potential in everyone and are achieving significant results by supporting the alignment and action of multiple social actors in the change process.  Lawrence Community Works builds a community network by first connecting neighbors and building social cohesion within their community.  They are finding that as people