With our recent headquarters move from San Francisco to downtown Oakland, Blue Shield of California is the corporate ‘new kid in town.’
But we’re no stranger to dozens of important community organizations and the thousands of people they serve; and the city’s landmarks and vibrant neighborhoods are now familiar names to our employees, even though we’re just settling in to our 12th Street offices.
The reason? Early this year, we created the “80 for Oakland” campaign to celebrate our 80th anniversary and encourage employees to participate in 80 community service or self-exploration activities in Oakland. The goal: help the city’s residents get to know us, and help our employees get to know their new headquarters city --- before our move was completed in October.
We are proud to report that we exceeded that goal: More than 120 activities took place by the end of September.
Embracing the Oakland Experience
“We wanted to be ‘all in’ when we moved our offices to Oakland by becoming part of the city’s diverse communities and enjoying everything that Oakland offers,” said Kimberley Goode, senior vice president, External Affairs. “We achieved that goal, and now we are excited to play an even bigger role in the community as an employer and as a supporter of local businesses and nonprofit organizations that work together to make Oakland a great place to live and work.”
Part of the Community
The American Heart Association (AHA), Oakland Parks and Recreation, Oakland Unified School District and KaBOOM! were among dozens of community organizations we collaborated with through “80 for Oakland.” More than 650 employees took time to volunteer in Oakland and that added up to almost 4,000 hours (or six months) of service.
For example, more than 300 Blue Shield employees volunteered at the AHA’s second annual “Make Time for Health” festival in May, which attracted 1,000 Oakland elementary-school students and their families. The festival is part of the AHA and Blue Shield’s school-based program to promote heart healthy habits at an early age. Now in its third year, the program is funded entirely by Blue Shield. It reaches some 2,000 students and their families annually, with tobacco education and strategies to build emotional well-being. It is the first program of its kind in Oakland.
“Over the past three years, thousands of students have signed the pledge to lead a heart-healthy life by adhering to the program’s four pillars of health: a tobacco-free lifestyle, increased physical activity, balanced nutrition, and emotional/social well-being,” said Laura Steinfeldt, executive director, AHA of the Greater Bay Area. “That remarkable outcome is what has produced the positive feedback we receive about this program from teachers, parents and community leaders.”
KaBOOM! builds safe, activity-filled playgrounds --- in just one day -- for children in under-resourced neighborhoods. Blue Shield has been a KaBOOM! supporter since 2015. This year, more than 100 volunteers spent a day at the Yu Ming Public Charter School, assembling climbing structures, building benches, painting hopscotch patterns and other tasks to bring the playground to life for the K-8th grade students that attend this tuition-free school.
Check this out! Employee Favorites
Throughout the campaign, employees showcased their favorite things about Oakland on our #80forOakland web feed and Yammer, with lively posts of colorful farmers’ markets, favorite restaurants, exciting neighborhoods, community activities, and landmarks like Jack London Square and the Paramount and Fox theaters. Click here for our #80forOakland participation page.