Blue Shield of California was named one of the Bay Area's best when it comes to giving, citizenship and volunteering. The insurer was the recipient of the San Francisco Business Times' Beyond the Check award, given to a handful of companies that go beyond cash donations.
Antoinette Mayer, Blue Shield's senior director for corporate citizenship, accepted the award on behalf of the company at an event last week. According to the Business Times:
"Last year, Blue Shield doubled the size of its corporate citizenship program benefits to employees. New offerings include Day One Donations, which provides newly hired employees with a $50 credit to donate to one of four local charities, and 24 hours of time off per year to volunteer with eligible nonprofits.
Blue Shield also works with the Taproot Foundation to encourage employees to donate professional services to nonprofit benefactors. Lastly, employees can participate in Dollars for Doers, where Blue Shield will donate $10 to select nonprofits for every hour an employee volunteers, up to $250 per year. “Through our efforts over the last year, we really felt like we gave people the opportunity to pursue their passions and to take time off to really give back to the local community,” Mayer said.
The numbers speak for themselves. In 2018, over 51 percent of employees participated in Blue Shield’s corporate citizenship programs, totaling more than 34,000 volunteer hours. That’s not only worth roughly $330,000 in value to the organization, but it’s a sizable jump from the 31 percent of employees that participated in corporate citizenship programs in 2016. It’s no wonder that last year, in an annual survey, 92 percent of Blue Shield employees stated they 'feel good' about how the company contributes to the community — that’s a 9 percent jump from 2015.
Blue Shield held 131 volunteer events supporting healthy living last year, and one of its standout partnerships was with the American Heart Association (AHA). In a three-year initiative, the two organizations expanded AHA’s Make Time for Health program, an event and assembly series that provides a healthy living curriculum for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in Oakland Unified School District. In just two years, they’ve reached more than 2,500 students. Blue Shield will also shift its headquarters from San Francisco to Oakland, even closer to its AHA partners and target community members.
'Blue Shield was so excited about this because they saw it as an opportunity to really amplify what we were doing,' said Maria Olson, a senior vice president at AHA. Our partnership really stems from the fact that our missions are completely aligned. Blue Shield sees the need in the community, we’re able to create solutions based on what the community tells us, and both of us are very quick to market, so it’s a really strong partnership — one that I think we’ll have for decades.'
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