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How our 2017 charitable giving is making a difference across Tennessee

One way we further our mission of providing peace of mind through better health is by offering financial support to a variety of community and civic partners. In 2017, we provided $10.7 million in funding across the state, including:

  • $9 million from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation
  • $600,000 from the Community Trust
  • $785,000 in corporate donations

“We truly are ‘of Tennessee,’ and we are committed to keeping our neighbors and communities healthy and strong,” says Roy Vaughn, chief communications officer for BlueCross and executive director of the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation.

“In 2017, we provided funding and support to organizations serving people in virtually every corner of the state.” 

Highlights from our 2017 charitable investments

Throughout the year, we funded a variety of causes, including public spaces, disaster relief, children’s health and the fight against opioid abuse. You can visit our community partners map to see which organizations we’ve supported where you live, but here are some of our 2017 investments.

$1.3 million to the Count It! Lock It! Drop It! campaign

Established in Coffee County, the Count It! Lock It! Drop It! program fights opioid abuse, the No. 1 form of substance abuse in Tennessee. The program seeks to end the cycle of borrowing and sharing pills by encouraging the public to count their prescription medications, keep them in a secure location and dispose of them at appropriate facilities, such as a pharmacy or law enforcement office. With the funding, the program is expanding to all 95 counties in Tennessee.

$1 million for the renovation of Miller Park in Chattanooga

BlueCross provided major funding support to reimagine Miller Park, a public space in the center of downtown Chattanooga, which more than 40,000 people pass by daily. The city of Chattanooga’s new park will include a pavilion, a large green space and rock formations.

BlueCross Miller Park Chattanooga

$200,000 to the Public Education Foundation to support its STEP-UP Chattanooga program

Modeled after a successful program in Minneapolis, STEP-UP Chattanooga helps deserving, disadvantaged high school students find summer internships with local companies. Students learn how to work in a business setting and gain valuable on-the-job training, as well as the opportunity to form professional connections.


$200,000 to Dayspring Family Health Center in Jellico

Dayspring Family Health Center provides programs that fight neonatal abstinence syndrome, a condition caused when babies exposed to opioids in the womb are born dependent on drugs.

$55,000 to the Mending Hearts Camp at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis

Founded by Orpheum Theatre president and CEO Brett Batterson, whose father died when he was just seven years old, the Mending Hearts Camp uses the arts to help children grieving the loss of a parent.

$40,000 to Howard’s Hope in Murfreesboro

BlueCross provided a grant to fund the Flying Fish program from Howard’s Hope, a nonprofit that provides disadvantaged youth in Middle Tennessee with access to programs in the areas of health, education and recreation. Flying Fish provides free swim lessons to low-income children in an effort to decrease the rate of accidental drownings.

$40,000 to the Bike Recycle program at the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy in Memphis

Through its Bike Recycle program, the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy provides low-income and at-risk children in the Memphis area with bicycles, as well as training on how to use and care for them. Children leave the program with new bikes, an understanding of the importance of staying active and a few new friends.

And throughout the year, we also gave $75,000 to disaster relief, including $25,000 each for Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria recovery efforts.

How employees put their support in action

Beyond financial support, our Team Blue network of employee volunteers donated their time and talents to causes and organizations across the state. In 2017, nearly 4,000 BlueCross employees participated in more than 100 volunteer opportunities , giving more than 8,000 hours of service to their local communities with an equivalent value of almost $200,000.

BlueCross Team Blue Aleasheia Stanford
Team Blue volunteer Aleasheia Stanford

“Team Blue is the heart and soul of our efforts to support corporate giving with volunteers across Tennessee,” says Scott Neal Wilson, our director of community relations and health foundation.

“Not only are they our ‘feet on the ground,’ donating their time and talents, they also make connections to do good where they see a need.”

An ongoing commitment – with a new focus

Giving back is in our nature. And we look forward to continuing to create a better, healthier Tennessee in 2018 and beyond. Moving ahead, we’re aligning the majority of our giving with a new strategic focus: BlueCross Healthy Place grants.

Public spaces can take many forms, and they are often the heartbeat of our communities. 

We want to help them thrive by encouraging healthy activity – and healthy connections – among our friends and neighbors. 

In the coming weeks, we’ll announce the location of our first BlueCross Healthy Place project. We hope that through these projects, we can have an even bigger impact on our state, reaching both urban and rural communities and encouraging more healthy activity across Tennessee for the foreseeable future.

About Amanda Haskew, Senior Communications Specialist

A photo of the authorAmanda joined the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee corporate communications team in 2017. Born and raised in Chattanooga, she has a decade of experience in writing for print and the web, as well as digital marketing.

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