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 through the Highmark Bright Blue Futures program, equity and inclusion initiatives through the Enterprise Equitable Health Institute (EEHI), and successful, ongoing sustainability programs.
Highmark Bright Blue Futures
The Highmark Bright Blue Futures charitable giving and community involvement program's goal is to ensure healthier, brighter, stronger futures for all. Its focus is to improve equitable access to care, quality of life and economic resilience in the communities served. The Highmark Bright Blue Futures program aspires to improve outcomes in two critical areas: Community Health and Community and Economic Resilience.
The Highmark Bright Blue Futures program values being an active, innovative community partner, creating and maintaining meaningful partnerships to achieve lasting positive outcomes. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, Highmark Inc. proudly serves nearly seven million members. The commitment goes beyond simply providing grants, and includes leveraging team members’ expertise and passion through volunteerism and convening community groups to drive efficiency and innovation. More information at highmark.com/brightbluefutures, and in the Highmark Bright Blue Futures Annual Report.
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.
- Caring Foundation
Funded primarily by Highmark Inc., its sole member, the Caring Foundation supports the Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents, and Their Families. In 2022, the Highmark Caring Foundation provided $5 million to aid this program. More information at highmarkcaringplace.com.
- Highmark Foundation
With support from Highmark Inc., 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 2022, Highmark Foundation committed more than $12 million in funding to support initiatives that addressed chronic disease, community health, family health, and service delivery systems.
In 2022, the Highmark West Virginia Charitable Fund for Health awarded more than $2 million in funding to support initiatives and programs focused on improving community health, substance use disorders, and social determinants of health for individuals who reside in West Virginia. For example, the fund awarded grants to eight nonprofit organizations that initiated substance use disorder programs that focus on prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and support for long-term recovery.
The United Concordia Dental Charitable Fund committed more than $1 million in funding throughout the U.S. to serve the health needs of the community, including, but not limited to: workforce development programs; oral health and dental care efforts for the uninsured and underinsured; and diversity and inclusion initiatives. For example, the fund supports the NYU College of Dentistry’s Veterans Oral Care Access Resource program to support comprehensive, free dental care for veterans.
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 $10 million to health-focused programs and projects in 2022.
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 $6 million in funding in 2022 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.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
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 Enterprise Equitable Health Institute (EEHI), Highmark Health is advancing equity, inclusion and belonging in its recruitment, retention, professional development, and workplace culture practices and standards, as well as in its delivery of quality care and services to patients, members, customers, and communities.
EEHI highlights from 2022 include:
- Recording a significant decrease in Black infant mortality and training over 100 clinicians on obstetrical racism through the First Steps and Beyond initiative.
- Administering over 5,000 COVID-19 vaccines to vaccine-hesitant people to improve access to care.
- Conducting over 800 health screenings for peripheral artery disease (blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose) in under-resourced communities to improve access to care.
- Fostering community partnerships through volunteer opportunities and fundraisers to help military and veteran families.
- Recruiting six medical students for the Magovern Scholarship Program and four clinicians for the Talent Attraction Program Pittsburgh (TAPP).
- Increasing Business Resource Group (BRG) membership by 16% to foster employee-led inclusion and engagement; and establishing a new BRG and Employee Resource Group.
- Issuing a new Refusal of Care policy to support clinicians who experience discrimination in the clinical setting and updating the Image and Appearance policy to increase a sense of belonging.
- Authoring a textbook chapter on Disturbing Maternal and Child Health Outcomes Among Vulnerable Populations, within A Population Health Approach to Health Disparities for Nurses.
- Conducting Inclusivity Reset Training for over 13,500 team members to strengthen DEI practices.
- Issuing a DEI Playbook for Leaders to help them design and foster an inclusive workplace and a diverse workforce.
- Establishing three Transformational Highmark Health Committees to create DEI accountability:
- Transformation Team: 80 leaders, who help implement DEI policy through the Pillars of Organizational Equity
- DEI Committee: 75 champions and equity officers, who drive transformation throughout organization
- National Advisory Council: 10 external DEI experts, who provide guidance and accountability
- Celebrating the DEI achievements of Highmark Health business units, departments and institutes to create models of equity for the entire system.
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 use and conserving water throughout facilities.
- Achieving the WELL Health-Safety Rating for major facilities. In 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. This rating is renewed annually and was achieved for 2022. 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.
- Reducing, reusing, and recovering waste streams to convert them to valuable resources, thereby minimizing the amount sent to landfills. Examples include over 93 tons of surplus furniture donated to area nonprofits such as Global Links since 2017. Donations in 2022 totaled approximately 16 tons. Additionally, over 900 office chairs were given to employees in support of the enterprise Work from Anywhere strategy.
Highmark Bright Blue Futures drives community health and community and economic resilience forward
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Hello everyone, and thank you for taking a moment for me to share some very exciting news with you. At Highmark, we believe in giving back. We always have. We've seen first-hand that giving back grows healthy, vibrant communities.
Throughout our history, we've partnered with non-profit organizations from across our enterprise in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, New York, and beyond.
The initiatives under this program will directly reflect our key philanthropic pillars: Community Health, and Community and Economic Resilience.
It also means we will continue to make meaningful impacts, like more equitable access to care; improved quality of life; and stronger economic futures.
Great things will come from Bright Blue Futures, and we're honored to stand with our non-profit partners. Together, we are building stronger, brighter, healthier communities for all.
For more than 80 years, Highmark Inc. and its predecessor companies have had a long-standing commitment to the communities where it does business. In 2022, Highmark Inc. and its health plan affiliates built upon that commitment by intentionally focusing on giving back to their communities throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, and northeastern and western New York. As part of dedicated efforts to making a positive impact, Highmark Bright Blue Futures charitable giving and community involvement program was introduced to ensure healthier, brighter and stronger futures for all.
The initiatives that are a part of the Highmark Bright Blue Futures program no matter the region directly reflect the organization's key Community Affairs pillars: community health, and community and economic resilience. Continuing to support nonprofit organizations that focus on improving equitable access to care, quality of life, and economic resilience, there were hundreds of examples of Highmark Bright Blue Futures in action in 2022. Here are a few:
- The Hazleton Integration Project launched and operated a comprehensive health-based program in the greater Hazleton area, in conjunction with the Wright Center and the Lehigh Valley Health Network. Highmark's support ensured that more than 100 children from the most underserved families, primarily from the large number of immigrant families that are moving to the Hazelton area, were able to receive their necessary medical examinations and vaccinations.
- Shalom House in Harrisburg received support for their Transformation Center, a new program aimed to empower individuals and families currently in local shelters and those throughout the community who are at imminent risk of homelessness. With Highmark's support of the expansion of this program, Shalom House anticipates providing housing and/or preventive services to 150 women and children within its first year.
- Urban Acres is creating a more equitable food system, serving households in New Castle County, Delaware. With Highmark's Delaware health plan affiliate's commitment to this organization, they were able to grow their delivery service, benefiting more than 150 families per week.
- By supporting the Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Hunt Armory in western Pennsylvania, thousands of families, schools and afterschool groups will benefit from programming with a focus on diversity, including Learn to Skate, Learn to Play and Try Hockey for Free; free community organization skate nights; skating for Pittsburgh I.C.E., Pittsburgh Public Schools and other school academies. The rink will also launch a hockey league partnership with the Pittsburgh Warriors, with a focus on physical and mental healing for veterans, which will be the first of its kind in North America.
- In just seven hours, a team of 50 employee volunteers and dozens of other volunteers from Duquesne Light, the PA Municipal League, and Kaboom!, built a new playground at West Penn Park for the Polish Hill community to enjoy. This new playground will provide hundreds of kids and their families with a place to get active, and it will play a key role in the overall health and vitality of the community.
"Through the Highmark Bright Blue Futures program, we value our partnerships with impactful organizations, and we provide them with our support and expertise to reach our shared goal of ensuring a healthier, brighter, stronger future for all," explained Kenya T. Boswell, senior vice president of Community Affairs, Highmark Health. "The lasting, positive health and wellness outcomes that we are making together in the communities we serve demonstrate our Highmark Bright Blue Futures program in action."
Social Determinants of Health: The Success of Thrive18 [video]
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Renita Freeman: How can I say it, this makes me happy to work for an organization that I know is really helping people and getting results.
Diana Bucco: There are multiple social barriers to health in the North Side. We have a large number of North Siders who, according to census, are living in poverty or working poor.
Dr. Imran Qadeer: It breaks my heart when the patients are re-admitted, and we know the issues are related to food insecurity and not even being able to afford housing.
Nebeyou Abebe: Let's build something innovative and unique that would address the needs of the community but also address the needs of the healthcare system.
Ellen Duffield: With all these voices working together to make those connections to community resources is really highly aligned with addressing the whole person as a part of Wholecare.
Diana Bucco: And collectively we came together to create Thrive18.
Rev. Brenda Gregg: We really wanted to hear from the family themselves, and see how can we work with you to make sure you get the resources that you need?
Dr. Imran Qadeer: When the team screens the patient, and they screen positive, they're referred to a community organization such as Thrive18 as well as a Healthy Food Center to address those needs.
Rev. Brenda Gregg: We first started Thrive, we were looking at trying to reach about five of the neighborhoods on the North Side. We now have been in every neighborhood.
Dan Onorato: I spent over 52 years of my life here on the North Side. I was born on Sheffield and used to go to church on Juniata. Now, here I am working for Highmark and AHN. It gives me personal pleasure to be part of the strategy to pull this off. There's a lot of good intentions from a lot of organizations and people, and the one mistake they make is they enter a neighborhood with people that aren't from there. And people are skeptical. Having the people in the neighborhood is the only thing that's make this a success from beginning.
Renita Freeman: Deniza is a lovely young woman. She's quiet, but she's strong.
Deniza: I like to cook. And I cook every day.
Renita Freeman: To entice the kids to eat rice. She puts food coloring in it. So the rice is always pretty.
Deniza: Africans, sometimes we are scared of Americans. That’s why I said, ‘Renita? Why is this woman coming with me?’ I didn’t tell her but I was scared in my heart.
Renita Freeman: I met her through a program that Thrive18 was asked to spearhead for the health department. First it started out with something she was dealing with in the house.
Deniza: Yeah, it was like the basement. It was it was too much rain. And all the water was coming in downstairs.
Renita Freeman: And so, I contacted housing authority for her with that, and I found out that she wanted to do her citizenship. So helped her get connected to some of those things that she needed. Knowing that she's able to stay here in the country, she's more confident. I didn't even know she had went, but she called me and she let me know she passed it. I was so proud of her.
Deniza: I'm so happy. I have another mother.
Renita Freeman: We give out food twice a month to families. And we load it in their car. Thank you guys for coming.
Camera Operator: You’re thanking them?
Renita Freeman: Always! Because without participation, our program would mean nothing.
Rev. Brenda Gregg: She's a typical family member that knows how to give help delicately. So people aren't harmed. And I think both Renita and Rhandi are both examples of that.
Rhandi Belland: Before I started working with Thrive18, I was actually a family that was in need of help. From there, I've been working with Thrive18 for two and a half years now because I know the need.
Rebecca: I've not always been the greatest parent. I tried to be the supermom, super wife, and I fell down for a minute. And we as a family have had to overcome a lot of things. And I think places like Thrive18 helps address some of those things.
Rhandi Belland: She's always been a kind-hearted person. Anytime she calls me I make sure I answer. She’ll be like, ‘Hey Rhandi, how are you doing?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m doing good. How are you?’ And she’ll be like, ‘I’m doing so much better today.’
Rebecca: I met Rhandi, her son attends school I work at. When I was enrolled in Thrive18, she just happened to be the worker assigned to me. So, it felt a little more personal to me. But I had been in hospital a couple of times with pneumonia, and I was referred to Thrive18 to get a COVID shot because COVID shots we're not even open to immune compromised people yet. Thrive18 has provided me with food services, produce.
Rhandi Belland: Even with helping Miss Rebecca get her Duquesne Light bill situated, I reached out to my supervisor, and I was like, ‘Listen, Miss Rebecca needs help.’
Rebecca: And while she was calling me to let me know that they will be contacting me, the gentleman was already on the phone beeping in. Between Thrive18 and my children, I eat healthier. I definitely feel more energized. My children are relieved with Thrive18 because they feel safe was Rhandi.
Nebeyou Abebe: We have to think about things totally differently. If we really want to transform healthcare, we got to be able to start from a blank sheet and rethink how we do business.
Ellen Duffield: Through the Thrive18 program, Highmark Wholecare has been able to work with over 2,000 members in addressing their very specific needs.
Erin Dalton: Testing these kinds of approaches, we need to be patient and understanding how they work and ideally we see lots of individual outcomes that are better than we would have expected. I think that's very likely the question on the table is can we accomplish community level change through this kind of intervention?
Rev. Brenda Gregg: Our neighbors are used to things coming and going. And I think that's what I appreciate with Highmark. They're here. They're listening and they want to be a part of the solution for the community.
Deniza: I was so happy because I found a friend. She loved me and I love her too.
Rebecca: Most kids if you give them their self-esteem, and you help them along the way, give some discipline and give them plenty of love, their day will be OK. They can at least survive it.
- Highmark West Virginia Charitable Fund for Health awards more than $600,000 in substance use disorder program grants
- Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware has invested over $10 million in 2022 to support a healthier community
- Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York announces $300,000 investment to honor Katherine Massey and support relief efforts at the Tops Supermarket in Buffalo
- Allegheny Health Network and Highmark Health aim to reduce Black infant mortality with "First Steps & Beyond" program
2022 enterprise giving total: In 2022, Highmark Health and its affiliates and subsidiaries totaled more than $58 million in corporate and foundation giving in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and New York.
Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates provided over $20 million in grants and sponsorships. 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, the Caring Foundation and Delaware BluePrints for the Community committed more than $30 million in funding to support community health, grieving children and other initiatives.
Spotlight: Highmark Bright Blue Futures
"Through the Highmark Bright Blue Futures program, we value our partnerships with impactful organizations, and we provide them with our support and expertise to reach our shared goal of ensuring a healthier, brighter, stronger future for all."