Throughout the Highmark Health organization, there is a strong commitment to strengthening communities.
That includes the work of seven charitable foundations, extensive community giving and volunteering, the Enterprise Equitable Health Institute (EEHI), and successful, ongoing sustainability initiatives.
The seven charitable foundations affiliated with Highmark Health, including five Allegheny Health Network hospital foundations and Highmark Inc.'s two foundations, have long and proud histories of funding programs that improve the health, well-being, and quality of life for individuals in the communities each organization serves.
- Highmark Caring Foundation
Funded primarily by Highmark Inc., its sole member, the Highmark Caring Foundation supports the Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents, and Their Families. In 2021, the Highmark Caring Foundation provided $5 million to aid this program. More information at highmarkcaringplace.com.
- Highmark Foundation
With support from Highmark Inc., its sole member, the Highmark Foundation funds programs that promote the health and well-being of the communities served by Highmark Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In 2021, Highmark Foundation committed over $7 million in funding to support initiatives that addressed chronic disease, family health, and service delivery systems in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
In 2021, two new restricted funds were established: the Highmark West Virginia Charitable Fund for Health and the United Concordia Dental Charitable Fund. Highmark West Virginia Charitable Fund for Health awarded over $1.7 million in funding to support initiatives and programs aimed at improving community health for individuals who reside in West Virginia. United Concordia Dental Charitable Fund committed more than $1.8 million in funding throughout the U.S. to serve the health needs of the community, including, but not limited to: workforce development initiatives and programs focused on oral health, dental care for the uninsured and underinsured, and diversity and inclusion initiatives, including oral health equity.
More information at highmarkfoundation.org, and in the Highmark Foundation Annual Giving Report.
Allegheny Health Network (AHN)
- Allegheny Health Network Charitable Foundations
Alle-Kiski Medical Center Trust, Forbes Health Foundation, Saint Vincent Hospital Foundation for Health and Human Services, Suburban Health Foundation, and Western Pennsylvania Hospital Foundation support initiatives associated solely with their hospital facilities to better meet the needs of their communities.
The five AHN foundations provided more than $15 million in funding in 2021 to support hospital-based programs, services, and facility upgrades to improve the overall well-being of the patients and communities served.
More information at supportahn.org, and in the AHN Philanthropy Impact Report.
Additionally, BluePrints for the Community, a grant program to help address the issues faced by Delaware's uninsured and underserved populations, exists as a donor-advised fund at the Delaware Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization that manages and administers charitable funds throughout Delaware. BluePrints for the Community committed over $6.8 million to health-focused programs and projects in 2021.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
A vital aspect of corporate social responsibility is building and executing a comprehensive internal and external strategy to promote a culture of equity and inclusion across every component of the enterprise.
Through the new Enterprise Equitable Health Institute (EEHI), Highmark Health is advancing equity and inclusion in the organization’s recruitment, hiring, professional development, and workplace culture practices and standards, as well as in the quality of care and service provided to patients, members, customers, and communities. Highlights from 2021 include:
- Created the Center for Health Equity with three focus areas: black infant mortality, cardiovascular disease, and access to care.
- Started the First Steps and Beyond program to decrease Black infant mortality rates, reduce preterm birth rates, and increase knowledge about safe sleep, and secured funding for the program from The Heinz Endowments and the Highmark Foundation.
- Established the System Transformation Internal Equity Team to convene corporate and hospital leadership, practitioners, researchers, and caregivers to identify practical and novel ways to understand, explain, and solve problems of racial inequity and injustice within the system.
- Formed the Specialty Service Transformation DEI Committee with leaders representing every business unit, health institute, and hospital, to be the organizational network of DEI advocates that educate on inclusion and create appropriate initiatives to advance the DEI culture and community. By the end of 2021, Highmark Health trained over 60 advocates to conduct Inclusivity Resets (over 2,000 employees trained so far) and science-based New Inclusion Learnings.
- Initiated, in collaboration with HR, a new INROADS partnership to sponsor diverse college interns from historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions.
- Developed a diversity talent scorecard and heatmaps to help Highmark Health executives track metrics against local, state, and national benchmarks, and met with each Executive Leadership Team member regarding the refreshed DEI strategy.
- Launched the DEI Compass Survey to review and assess the existing culture within Highmark Health, which will help identify gaps in services and programs for employees, patients, members, and customers through a DEI lens and enable leadership to identify opportunities for improvements.
As stewards of the communities Highmark Health serves, the organization believes it has a responsibility to manage resources in a sustainable way.
Top sustainability goals include:
- Reducing energy and water consumption throughout facilities.
- Achieving the WELL Health-Safety Rating for major facilities. As of 2021, Highmark Health achieved the rating for 2.4 million square feet of its administrative real estate. This includes the corporate headquarters and data center. The data center also achieved its annual ENERGY STAR certification.
- Renovating, constructing, operating, and maintaining facilities in accordance with green and high-performance building practices.
- Engaging employees on how they can be environmental stewards at work and at home.
Stepping up to address social determinants of health with Thrive18
Highmark Health is committed to building a better future for the members, employees, patients, and communities it serves. That includes addressing the social determinants of health (SDOH) the conditions that affect peoples' health based on where they live, learn, work, and play. SDOH factors can impact up to 80% of a person's health outcomes before the health system can intervene.
Highmark Health is stepping up for community health with its collaboration with Project Destiny on the Thrive18 program. Since 2018, Thrive18 has been collaborating with Highmark Health, Allegheny Health Network, The Buhl Foundation, the Allegheny County Health Department, Gateway Health (now Highmark Wholecare), the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, and the City of Pittsburgh to implement a community-based model to address SDOH needs for the most vulnerable populations of Pittsburgh's North Side neighborhood. Catalyzed by the community health work done under the BUILD grant, and in alignment with the One Northside community plan, the program includes health education, housing advice, financial education, and connecting residents to resources impacting individual health.
"If you don't know where your next meal is coming from, you're not focused on preventive care," said Nebeyou Abebe, Highmark Health's senior vice president, Social Determinants of Health. "That's why we're taking proactive steps to address the root causes that impact health."
Thrive18 has assisted more than 2,000 households and referred residents back into the health system to address health-related needs. Importantly, Highmark Health can refer to Thrive18 to support addressing residents' social risks and needs that are often impacting their health. And when the pandemic hit these efforts didn’t stop. Project Destiny established a 24/7 phone line that individuals can call for help.
Thrive18 is a collaboration funded by Highmark Inc., the Buhl Foundation, and other supporters, and is led by Project Destiny.
$18 million investment launches Highmark West Virginia Charitable Fund for Health [article]
- Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware highlights community partnerships to improve health
- 2021 community investments advance $70 million, 10-year commitment by Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc.
- Enterprise Equitable Health Institute taps nationally recognized experts in diversity, equity, and inclusion for advisory council
- Highmark Health commits $1.5 million to increase leadership diversity
2021 enterprise giving total: In 2021, Highmark Health and its affiliates and subsidiaries totaled more than $47 million in corporate giving.
Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates provided over $23 million in grants and sponsorships in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, and New York. Additionally, Highmark Health contributed more than $7 million in corporate giving through its non-Blue-branded affiliates and subsidiaries.
The Highmark Foundation, its restricted funds and the Highmark Caring Foundation committed more than $15.9 million in funding to support health initiatives and grieving children.
Allegheny Health Network provided over $1 million in funding to support community health and economic development initiatives to improve the overall well-being of the communities served across its campuses.
Insight: Social Determinants of Health Investments
“If you don't know where your next meal is coming from, you’re not focused on preventive care. That’s why we’re taking proactive steps to address the root causes that impact health.”