Community Support and Advocacy means we stand up for causes we believe in, especially when it comes to health. At every level, it's about volunteering, financial support, board membership, and partnerships. From national organizations fighting disease to babies in need, we hope North Carolinians believe in the work we're doing in the community and around the state, and feel strongly enough about it to get involved.
Blue Cross NC held our first ever Day of Service in August 2016. More than 1,000 employees volunteered for a dozen nonprofit organizations. We set aside the day to further the work these nonprofits working within communities to make life better for North Carolina. We helped bring community and media attention to the vital services these nonprofits provide each year.
Our employees are encouraged to volunteer during work hours individually, in teams or with entire departments. Many use the skills they apply to their work at BCBSNC to help those in need, whether it's financial services staff managing nonprofit budgets or member coordinators helping kids tending to marketing, events and social media for a youth organization.
Blue Cross NC employees put in over 17,530 volunteer hours in 2016. We've donated nearly 416,000 volunteer hours since 1997. That's a time value of $7.5 million!*
Diapers Are No Small Issue for Those in Need
The theme to the community volunteerism that BCBSNC fosters is pretty easy to pin down. It's promoting the health and well-being of North Carolinians in any way we can. And our motivation multiplies when it comes to children. One of our staff's favorite kid-centered organizations to volunteer with is the Diaper Bank of NC. Sorting and packing diapers is a group effort and can be a fun team-building activity, but beyond that, it's a crucial service to the community.
Food stamps and other government programs don't cover diapers, which can cost several hundred dollars a year. When forced to choose between food and diapers, diapers lose. And the babies suffer.
The Diaper Bank takes the diapers and other supplies volunteers package and distributes them through established agencies that work directly with families so that they get what they need quickly. The service also connects them to other assistance programs, vital services like food, clothing, medical care, shelter and job training.
The Diaper Bank doesn't just help babies and parents, though. The organization supplies many others, including special needs children, older children - who may be developmentally challenged or be dealing with stressful situations like homelessness - and adults in need of adult diapers. They even have a program in Durham Public Schools to provide feminine hygiene products to middle school girls to help keep them from missing school due to menstruation.
Stran Summers wanted to be involved in his local community. And as a finance guy (Director of Corporate Tax), he needed the opportunity he chose to demonstrate good money management. Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers, Inc. (TROSA), a drug rehabilitation therapy community, fit both criteria well, as it's a big part of life in Durham and a tradition for BCBSNC Finance leaders.
TROSA is not a typical rehab situation. Its website says proudly, "We help substance abusers become healthy, productive members of their communities and families." TROSA truly helps individuals in recovery by providing a multi-year residential program with treatment, job training, education and more.
Durhamites always call TROSA to pick up the furniture they want to donate, so it can be sold in the thrift store and raise money to help more people. They think of TROSA when they need lawn work, when they're moving to a new home, and even around the holidays when they're shopping for Christmas trees or need a party catered. It's part of how the people of Durham live – "Just call TROSA!"
But beyond the part it plays in the community, TROSA plays a significant role in BCBSNC Finance. Our financial staff has been on the TROSA board for over 10 years, starting with a former CFO, and they appreciate TROSA's financial strategy. As a two-year residential program, TROSA is unique in its approach and results. Residents don't pay for anything. Some money is raised through donations from individuals, businesses and foundations, and grants from government programs. But most of the operating budget comes from vocational training programs like the lawn service and thrift store. Although TROSA is based in Durham, it serves North Carolinians throughout the state and also has residents from other states.
Summers has currently served four months on the board and is a member of TROSA's Finance and Operations Committee and Audit Committee.
"I like that TROSA is able to provide its services without costs to the residents, that it is able to fund a substantial portion of its budget through its therapeutic vocational training programs and that it takes the long view to sustainable recovery through its two-year residential program." Said like a true finance guy – efficiency matters when it comes to helping people. It means more money going to the people that need it and more people helped overall.
Director Corporate Tax; U65 and Small Group Segment Controller
Financial Services and Treasury/Finance
With BCBSNC since 2001
On the board of TROSA
Employee Campaigns Raise Money for National Nonprofits with Local Impact
We support organizations that fight disease every day. Their impact is huge, and we know that helping them expands our reach. As CEO Brad Wilson says, "I am proud that for more than 10 years the employees of our company have provided significant financial and volunteer support to the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the March of Dimes and Susan G. Komen to further the work these organizations are doing to prevent illness and advance cures for people across North Carolina."
We like our support to do double-duty whenever possible: If we can also help employees lead healthy, active lifestyles, have a little fun and enjoy each other's company while we raise funds, so much the better.
In 2015, over 500 walkers from BCBSNC raised more than $36,000 from the Walks for Health for these four organizations combined.
Starting in 2016, there's a new plan. We'll still be raising funds and participating in charitable walks, but we're condensing our campaigns into one annual fundraising effort, the Fund4Health. Employees can designate a $10 corporate donation from our CommunityWORKS program to any of these four organizations. With 4800 employees and counting, those donations add up. Employees are also encouraged to match the corporate donation by contributing $10 or more to one or more of the four: American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, March of Dimes and Susan G. Komen. Those who match donations are eligible for company rewards, like dress-down days and drawings for great prizes.
We have personal connections with these nonprofits, too. From breast cancer survivors (one employee is at six years and counting!) to stories of our own children working with the March of Dimes and American Heart Association, we are involved in every way possible. And we'll continue to support their work because it's so important to the health of our community. Just ask anyone who works here.