Last year was full of “unprecedented times” and an “abundance of caution.” While many aspects of our daily lives changed when the pandemic began, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming, its employees, and the BCBWY Caring Foundation continued to support the communities it serves.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the ways BCBSWY and its employees invested in Wyoming in 2020.
1. Addressing Food Insecurity
Together with The Caring Foundation, BCBSWY donated $150,000 to First Lady Jennie Gordon’s Wyoming Hunger Initiative that provides critical support to food pantries in every Wyoming county. Hunger remains a pressing issue with 1 in every 6 Wyoming kids struggling with food insecurity.
2. Delivering Meals to Heath Care Heroes
BCBSWY coordinated meal deliveries through local restaurants to support our hospitals and clinics and delivered breakfast to more than 700 health care workers.
3. Providing Technology to Students in Need
With the sudden school closures last spring, some students were unable to learn virtually from home. BCBSWY refurbished over 20 computers and donated these to the School Resource program coordinated by Laramie County United Way to help kids learn from home.
4. Bowl for Jason’s Friends
We were lucky in early March to sponsor and participate with a team of employees bowl to support Jason’s Friends, a non-profit located in Casper with a mission to help Wyoming families whose children suffer from cancer.
5. Empowering Women Leaders
In February, BCBSWY was pleased to support the annual Leap into Leadership program, supporting women interested in running for public office.
6. Training in Mental Health First Aid
The Caring Foundation funded a pilot program with Peak Wellness Center to begin an evidence-based, national program to teach laypersons the skills to help people who may be experiencing mental health and/or substance use challenges or who are in crisis. This training was offered Laramie, Albany, Platte and Goshen counties with plans to expand community training opportunities statewide this year.
7. Hand Sanitizer Distribution
With the shortage of hand sanitizers early in the pandemic, BCBSWY quickly responded, shipping hand sanitizer to hospitals, homeless shelters, daycares, and for care packages for veterans and seniors.
8. Giving Locally
BCBSWY employees gave to more than 60 organizations during WyoGives, a 24-hour online giving event organized by the Wyoming Non-Profit Network. BCBSWY provided a dollar-for-dollar match for employee donations which together totaled more than $18,000.
9. Ride for Sight
Continuing a long tradition of supporting the Sunrise Lions Club Ride for Sight bike ride event, BCBSWY was again a proud sponsor along with a team of employees participating in the ride.
10. Investing in Future Health Care Heroes
The BCBSWY Caring Foundation offered over $60,000 in scholarships at the University of Wyoming and all community colleges, totaling more than 25 scholarships across the state. Scholarships are awarded to students seeking a degree in a health care profession, with a focus on nursing and advanced nursing programs.
11. Supporting the American Cancer Society
Although this year’s Relay for Life event looked different, the company continued a long tradition of sponsoring and supporting the BCBSWY Relay for Life employee team’s efforts in fundraising and spreading awareness.
12. Lifting Each Other Up
With the introduction of paid time-off for volunteering, employees found ways to serve their communities safely. Some volunteered to direct traffic for mass COVID testing sites, others placed flags on graves for Memorial Day, as well as a team of employees who volunteered for this fall’s annual Day of Giving event.
13. Addressing Disparities Facing the Wind River Indian Reservation
The impacts of COVID-19 disproportionately impacted the tribes living on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The BCBSWY Caring Foundation made a $15,000 gift to the Wind River Foundation COVID-19 emergency relief fund to help meet tribal needs.
14. Youth Sports
Youth sports not only keep kids active, but they also offer opportunities to bring communities together. The company tries to honor employee requests to support their kid’s youth sports through sponsorships. Even with fewer requests in 2020, BCBSWY was happy to support these activities.
BCBSWY launched a social, digital, and print campaign to bring Wyomingites together to show support for COVID-19 responders, front-line and essential workers, and all people who did their part to help keep Wyoming safe and healthy. Employees participated with messages of gratitude and by sharing #MaskUp photos that were featured on social media.
16. Trail Maintenance
With more of us looking for socially distanced outdoor activities, BCBSWY supported trail maintenance efforts though the Cheyenne Greenway Foundation and the Casper Platte River trails.
17. Encouraging Creative Learning
BCBSWY funded a school enrichment grant through the Cheyenne Schools Foundation, as supporting youth has always been important to the company.
18. Continuing a Tradition of Giving
Employees in Laramie County stepped up during the company’s annual United Way campaign. Funds support the nonprofit’s continued fight for improved health, education, and financial stability.
19. Responding to Need
Nonprofits continued to provide critical social services, despite cancelled fundraisers, more restrictions, and increased costs to provide PPE. Recognizing the needs of these mission critical organizations, the BCBSWY Caring Foundation made a $25,000 grant to the Wyoming Community Foundation COVID Relief fund to support Wyoming nonprofits.
20. Feeding Kids
With a grant of $150,000 the BCBSWY Caring Foundation continued to support the Healthy Habits program with Boys and Girls Clubs across the state, providing nearly 50,000 snacks and 30,000 meals in 2020. The programs teaches healthy eating habits and cooking. Offering funding flexibility, the Boys and Girls Clubs were also able to provide holiday meals for families and food boxes to those in need.