BlueCross BlueShield Employees Donate $80,000 to Local Charities

Insurer supporting organizations recovering from COVID-19 impact

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York employees “virtually” donated $80,000 to local charities, as part of the employees’ longstanding legacy of supporting the community. Sixteen local organizations each received a donation of $5,000, at a pivotal time as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This employee-driven support is in addition to the health plan’s recent $1 million donation to the WNY COVID-19 community response fund through its health focused grant program, Blue Fund.

“BlueCross BlueShield has an 85-year history of supporting initiatives that enhance the health of Western New York, and even in the midst of this pandemic, our employees were engaged to select recipients from our 2019 internal fundraising efforts,” said Julie R. Snyder, senior vice president, chief marketing and communications officer with BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “Our employees exemplify the health plan’s values by going above and beyond to make a positive impact in our community, especially during difficult times.”

As a community-based, not-for-profit health plan, BlueCross BlueShield’s 1,500 employees have a long history of “paying it forward” through their Red-Stocking Fund. Established more than 60 years ago, the name of the fund was derived from the literal use of red stockings to collect charitable donations around the holiday season. The funds are raised through several year-round fundraising efforts anchored by the health plan’s employee volunteer group “BlueCrew.”

The 2020 recipients:

• American Foundation for Suicide Prevention WNY: The organization focuses on eliminating the loss of life from suicide by delivering innovative prevention programs, educating the public about risk factors and warning signs, raising funds for suicide research and programs, and reaching out to those individuals who have lost someone to suicide.

• Buddy’s Second Chance Rescue: A foster-based rescue that saves dogs from various high kill shelters to help decrease euthanasia rates of innocent dogs.

• Buffalo Autism Project: The mission of Buffalo Autism Project is to provide an abundance of quality information, resources, and events surrounding best practices on Autism Spectrum Disorder to increase hope, awareness, and acceptance.

• Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper: The organization protects and restores our water and surrounding ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations.

• Child & Family Services of Erie County: Its mission is to strengthen families and promote the well-being of children through prevention, intervention, education, and advocacy.

• Cradle Beach Camp: Cradle Beach unites individuals and families, with a focus on empowering children with special needs and the underserved to become their best selves.

• Food Shuttle of Western New York: Its mission is to help alleviate hunger in the community by transporting excess prepared and perishable food from super-markets, bakeries, restaurants, and other food sources to soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and other “care communities” throughout the Buffalo area.

• Habitat for Humanity: Seeking to put faith into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.

• Journey’s End Refugee Services: The mission of Journey’s End Refugees is to provide refugees with the resources and support they need to become successful, active and contributing members of the Western New York Community.

• Live Like Luca, The Luca S. Calanni Foundation: The organization celebrates the life and legacy of Luca Calanni by following his example of kindness and caring. Its mission is to help all children experience the joys of participating in sports, camps, the arts and other activities that made Luca’s light shine bright.

• Niagara County SPCA: Its mission is to prevent cruelty to all animals through public education on their humane treatment and to provide love, care, shelter and advocacy for companion animals in our community.

• Ten Lives Club: Ten Lives Club is a non-kill, nonprofit cat-adoption group devoted to reducing the number of cats euthanized each year due to overpopulation and lack of space in shelters.

• The Conor J. Long Foundation: It was established to inspire individuals to take action in their communities. The foundation creates positive changes in Western New York by assisting the elderly, helping the disabled, nurturing leadership development and by helping families in need.

• Veterans One-Stop Center of WNY: The Veterans One-stop Center of WNY brings people, organizations and resources together in time, space and effort to effectively improve the well-being of all Western New York veterans of the US Armed Forces and their families.

• Western New York Perinatal Bereavement Network: Its mission is to assist the community in meeting the needs of people facing the death of a baby from miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or early infant death.

• WNY Heroes Inc.: The mission of WNY Heroes Inc. is to provide veterans, members of the armed services, and the widows and children of deceased veterans with access to essential services, financial assistance and resources that support their lives and sustain their dignity.