We want to foster the vitality of the communities we serve, supporting chambers of commerce, festivals, museums, theater, culture and the arts in North Carolina. We also believe strongly in community leadership; supporting positive leaders across North Carolina and innovative organizations, like the Institute for Emerging Issues.
We're proud to support chambers that are advancing Corporate Citizenship in communities across the state. Chambers help ensure existing businesses of all sizes continue to thrive, recruit new companies to the state and promote all that North Carolina communities have to offer.
Did you know that North Carolina has the third largest military population, per capita, in the US?
Military service men and women, veterans and their families aren't just our friends and neighbors, they're our employees and customers, too. We're committed to the people who protect our country and our state, and to show it, we've created professional networks, online resources, and educational programs at local universities. Plus, we've joined forces with other organizations whose mission is like ours, to better the quality of life for those who have given so much.
"We rally around four attributes here that are the cornerstones of our culture and all we do," says CEO Brad Wilson. "When someone is emulating these – caring, committed, creative and collaborative – you can bet they have a military background. We can learn a lot from their outstanding work ethic."
Brett Russ, who's been with BCBSNC for more than 17 years, exemplifies this work ethic. He answered the call of duty in support of Hurricane Floyd relief efforts in 1999 and was deployed to Kuwait as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012. Brett could go with "peace of mind" knowing his job would be waiting for him when he returned.
"I can't tell you what that has meant to my family ..." says Brett. "I couldn't ask for a more supportive employer."
We know our citizen guard and reservists couldn't defend and protect us at home and abroad without the continued promise of meaningful civilian employment. By signing the "Statement of Support" pledge, we:
We're extremely proud of our guard, reservists and veteran employees. That's why BCBSNC is committed to supporting the military well beyond recruiting them for rewarding careers.
We have a variety of health care programs and community outreach opportunities to support active military employees and veterans, including:
The Red, White & Blue member website is an online resource created to address the unique needs of our military customers and the medical professionals who treat them, including:
We're sharing this resource with health care providers and our customers, and promoting it on Facebook and Twitter.
But this isn't our only support for customers who've served our country. Our Masters of Physician Assistant Studies program for veterans at the UNC School of Medicine builds on the medical experience and training that Special Forces medical sergeants receive during their service. It also creates opportunities for veterans who want to transfer their unique and hard-earned skills to a civilian health care system.
On June 8 last year, more than 50 employee veterans and service members gathered with the senior leadership team as BCBSNC received recognition from Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR) volunteers and Naval Commander Lydia J. Doye.
"By investing in these sailors ... you are investing in the security of our country," said Commander Doye.
BCBSNC helps found UNC Physician Assistant program
The UNC School of Medicine's Physician Assistant (PA) program launched on Jan. 4, 2016, with support (through a grant given in 2012) and collaboration from BCBSNC. The two-year program supports veterans whose background and medical experience could transition into a job as a physician assistant with additional training. Designed in collaboration with Army officials at Fort Bragg, the program aims to recruit veterans and other non-traditional students and turn troops' medical experience into job skills for their transition back to civilian life.
"Our commitment has helped fund the program from the ground up, including hiring full time program staff. A significant portion of the grant also provides scholarship funding for veterans," CEO Brad Wilson said of the program.
BCBSNC funding will provide scholarships to veterans over the next three years. The amount of each scholarship depends on the unique circumstances of the veteran. This personalized approach allows UNC to make the most of each scholarship dollar.
Dave Manning, one of the veterans who received a BCBSNC scholarship, provided medical support for deployments in Iraq and later served on board a Navy ship. However, he's faced hardships trying to find health care work since returning home.
He told NPR in a recent interview that:
Nothing I've done really translates over [into civilian jobs] beyond basic EMT. Trying to find something in the medical field without any credentials, without any licensure is tough. There's nothing out there.
People like Dave are the reason BCSBNC is so committed to the program. As Wilson said:
The UNC School of Medicine's impact on blazing new career paths for veterans while improving health care in our state cannot be overestimated. The program will strengthen much needed primary care resources in our state, and is a natural fit for us in delivering on our mission to improve the health and well-being of our customers and communities.
To learn more about the UNC PA program, check out the program video on YouTube:
You can also follow the links below to learn more about all the ways BCBSNC works to support veterans, like providing care resources, training health care providers, and maintaining our VetNet employee networking group.
Quick word association exercise.
We say, "live entertainment." You say, "Thrilling!" "Engrossing!" "Fun!" "Musical!" "Health insurance!"
In DPAC's case, that's not as far-fetched as it may seem.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) has been an integral part of the theater's success since the venue's early days.
We believe a vibrant arts presence is vitally important to the quality of life in our communities..."
The not-for-profit insurance company supported the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) as the title sponsor of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Atrium, the three-story glass-walled lobby that manages to be both grand and warm at once. The space ushers patrons in and sets the tone for a magical evening. It's also a popular spot for special events, with room enough for 1,000 guests.
Really, supporting the theater from the outset was a no-brainer for BCBSNC, founded in 1933 and now providing insurance services to nearly 4 million North Carolinians.
"Our company works to make life better for all who live in our state, and we believe that a vibrant arts presence is vitally important to the quality of life in our communities," says John Roos, senior vice president and chief sales, marketing and communications officer for BCBSNC. "DPAC's immediate and sustained success is testament to the desire of North Carolinians to support the arts. Our company's roots in Durham and our history of collaboration with the city added even more appeal for us."
Kathy Higgins, the company's vice president of corporate affairs, pitched the idea of supporting the fledgling theater to Roos, then-CEO Bob Greczyn and then-CFO Dan Glaser. They didn't take much convincing and haven't regretted it.
"Beyond the benefit to our brand of associating with a top-tier live entertainment destination, our support of DPAC has helped us to further our goal of improving the quality of life in our state," Roos says. "We are well pleased with the significant role DPAC has played in spurring the revitalization of downtown Durham."
Durham is home to one of BCBSNC's headquarters, so the close-to-home investment made sense. It's also in keeping with the BCBSNC corporate culture, which encourages community engagement. Since 1997, company employees have logged nearly 400,000 volunteer hours.
DPAC has played a crucial role in the resurgence of Durham's downtown area, drawing local residents as well as out-of-towners in near-record numbers. For Durham to compete as a world-class city, it needs a world-class performing arts center; DPAC has filled that need – 10 times over.
Robert Gofourth is into metrics. As Vice President of Operational Strategy and Performance here at BCBSNC, he has a passion for data and what it means for the people it touches. And that's how he found Kidznotes.
Kidznotes is a nonprofit dedicated to changing the lives of students in need by helping them learn to play musical instruments like the violin or guitar – kids who might not otherwise have the opportunity. And it's been proven to help academically as well.
According to a Raleigh News & Observer interview, "The organization boasts that of the students who have spent at least a year in the program, 80 percent have scored proficient or higher in their fifth-grade end-of-grade math tests. That compares with 36 percent for their classroom peers." And that kind of data is the sort that attracts Gofourth, who told us, "It is logical and it makes sense to support an organization that has proven results like that (this is the textbook answer, right?)."
And it most certainly does make sense. But beyond that, what this nonprofit does matters on an emotional level. Gofourth was truly hooked the first time he attended one of their shows.
...I went to a Saturday morning concert and I saw the families that were touched and the enthusiasm of the children and when I saw that, I knew I had to be involved. Kidznotes makes a difference in not only the children's lives but the entire family."
Gofourth has now been on the board of directors for a year and currently serves as Vice Chair. He also serves on the fundraising committee and leads the strategic planning and governance committee.
"Kidznotes is 5 years old. Working with a newer organization can be extremely rewarding," Gofourth said. "I have been able to lead the work around the organization's Enterprise Risk Management, establish a Finance Policy and their overall Strategic Plan."
And that's putting that operational strategy expertise to work where it can make an even greater impact – on our children. Interested in more of what Kidznotes does? Check out their website.
Vice President of Operational Strategy and Performance
Joined BCBSNC in 2014
On the board of Kidznotes