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Community collaboration: why we partner with the United Way

The United Way fights for the education, stability and support of every person in every community – a passion shared by BlueCross. That’s why we support United Way with an annual giving campaign and rally our employees to contribute whatever amount they can.

Dennis Culver BlueCross United Way
Dennis Culver, vice president, treasurer and chief risk officer at BlueCross, and United Way campaign chair

“Beyond being a good corporate citizen and serving the community where we live, work and play, supporting the work of United Way clearly ties to our mission of peace of mind through better health,” says Dennis Culver, vice president, treasurer and chief risk officer at BlueCross, and United Way campaign chair. “We have many levels of employees, from entry level to senior executive, and I think that everyone can afford to give in some capacity.

Even just a dollar a month makes a huge difference.”

This year, our commitment to support United Way branches in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville resulted in more than $500,000 in contributions, thanks to employee pledges.

In addition, United Way of Greater Chattanooga has just kicked off its own 2017 public fundraising campaign.

According to Patrick Long, vice president of strategy and engagement at United Way of Greater Chattanooga, there are three ways in which the organization seeks to involve the community in its work.

  • Contributing to the annual campaign. In 2016, 90 programs were supported and 140,000 lives impacted through this fund.
  • Volunteering. Last year, 10,000 volunteers mobilized to make a difference in the Tennessee Valley.
  • Advocating. Talking with influencers about important issues like school readiness, appropriate reading levels and ensuring kids graduate from high school prepared for college, work and life raises awareness through word of mouth.
Patrick Long United Way
Patrick Long, vice president of strategy and engagement at United Way of Greater Chattanooga

“There’s a lot of great work happening, but as a community, we need to be more intentional about investing in people’s lives that brings the greatest return,” Patrick says. “When we look at this community, we see that 60 percent of kids aren’t ready for kindergarten, and that’s something we can actually change. That’s why we’re so heavily involved with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. It only costs $12 per child per year to enroll them in a program where they’re guaranteed to receive a book every month by mail.”

Journey of a dollar

Whether you’re a part of the BlueCross team or not, how much do you know about the work of United Way and how much your support matters? The infographic below outlines how every dollar contributed makes a difference.

United Way Journey of a Contribution infographic
Infographic by Emily Haney

“It’s easy to look at an organization of our size, hear that we’re launching an $11 million campaign and think, ‘What I can give can’t possibly make a difference,’” Patrick says. “What I tell people is that the average investment in United Way is less than a dollar a day.

It’s not a few people giving a lot, it’s a lot of people giving what they can. Those dollars add up, and they make a real difference.”

About Jesse Thompson, Principal Communications Specialist

A photo of the author

Jesse joined the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee corporate communications team in 2017. A Chattanooga native, he has more than 15 years’ experience in content creation, management, and strategy for consumer audiences, including a six-year stint in health care marketing.

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