During these challenging times, it is critical that we support the communities where we live and work. Guided by our nonprofit mission, we are forging deep and lasting partnerships and engaging our employees to help underserved communities and those impacted by systemic inequities by providing equitable access to opportunities that improve the health and well-being of all Californians.
BlueSky is our statewide multi-year $10 million investment that brings together leading community organizations to support mental health for California youth.
The onset of COVID-19 confirmed that we were addressing one of the most critical issues. A recent Parenting & Mental Health survey revealed that many parents are deeply concerned about the impact the ongoing pandemic and prolonged isolation are having on their children’s mental health.
In partnership with Wellness Together, we rapidly transitioned to a virtual environment. Here is the profile of youth served through school-based counseling sessions during the 2020-2021 school year:
DEMOGRAPHIC DATA OF STUDENTS IN COUNSELING SESSIONS
Additionally, BlueSky reached out to trusted community-based organizations that serve youth in San Diego and Alameda Counties to provide $300,000 across 18 organizations, funding programs in arts, sports, music, leadership, and tele-counseling. This mini-grant program reached especially vulnerable youth.
In collaboration with DoSomething.org, we created a first-of-its-kind mental health guide created for youth, by youth. This unique guide, which helps parents and educators understand the complexities of youth stress, gives voice to youth who are coping with anxiety during these difficult times.
We worked with our valued partners to adapt our programs to continue to provide youth the support they need without missing a beat due to COVID-19.
DURING THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR
According to the World Health Organization, 7 million people worldwide die prematurely every year from air pollution, which has wide ranging impacts on human health. As part of our commitment to improving the health of individuals, families and communities throughout California, we are proud to announce that Blue Shield recently achieved CarbonNeutral® company certification in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol.
As one of the leading healthcare companies, we have a duty to address disparities and support the needs of the most vulnerable populations in our communities. As part of our efforts to support communities in California, at the beginning of 2020, we committed $20 million to Governor Gavin Newsom’s California Access to Housing and Services fund, which is designed to address the homelessness crisis, supporting initiatives such as affordable housing units, rents subsidies and supportive services for Californians in need.
In addition, we provided $200,000 to ALL IN Alameda County to support their partnership with Covenant House California to develop a Youth Action Board (YAB) for young adults ages 18-24 who have experienced housing insecurity and/or homelessness. Through participation on the YAB, youth will develop leadership and advocacy skills and become instrumental in the development of a County-wide plan to end youth homelessness.
In 2020, Blue Shield employees set a record $1.4 million in charitable giving with the company match. In a year in which the need was greater than ever, employees stepped up to support their communities and address the impact of COVID-19, nearly doubling 2019 efforts. In addition, more than 3,800 employees logged more than 30,000 volunteer hours to support their favorite charities. These were the top organizations our employees supported:
Featured Partner: During the pandemic, we provided support to aid businesses and health clinics in at-risk communities in Alameda County. This included a $100,000 grant to the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce “Resiliency Fund” to support Black-owned businesses struggling to stay afloat in the pandemic. The Resiliency Fund has provided relief for more than 160 small businesses for expenses such as rent, equipment, supplies, technology, and financial training.
In 2020, Blue Shield gave nearly $11.3 million* across California to support the needs of our communities, including significant investments in at-risk communities: