Teaming Up for a Healthier RI

January 2016 - June 2017 Community Investment Report

For nearly 80 years, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has been dedicated to improving the health of all Rhode Islanders. We are proud to partner with local nonprofits that are doing important work for individuals and families in our state.

Through our BlueAngel Community Investment Program, we support nonprofits and programs that address the most critical health issues facing Rhode Islanders, from childhood obesity to health literacy to quality care for the uninsured. This report highlights some of our accomplishments from January 2016 - June 2017.

Read More
Kim Keck, President and CEO at a BCBSRI community volunteer event

One of the reasons I came to this company was the philanthropic and community-based focus.

Kim A. Keck, President and CEO, BCBSRI

2016-2017 Community Investment by the Numbers

Organizations supported through in-kind donations, volunteerism, or financial support
  • 10,344
    Volunteer hours served
  • $249,722
    Value of volunteer hours*
  • $249,462
    Generated by employee fundraising
  • $2,076,125
    Invested by the company through financial or in-kind donations

Healthy Kids

Promoting a healthy weight for the next generation

Nearly one-­third of Rhode Island children are overweight or obese, which can impact their health now and in the future. That’s why we’re helping the next generation develop healthy habits for life.

Read More

BlueAngel Community Health Grants

Since 2014, we have focused our BlueAngel Community Health Grant program on investments in Rhode Island's future - our children. From January 2016 - June 2017, 17 organizations received funding to further their significant contributions to improving kids' health.

Awarded in grants
Rhode Island children and family members impacted

By teaming up with Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has impacted the lives of over 400 children. Through the Soccer For Success program, we have taught our most in need youth how to live a healthy lifestyle while having fun and staying active. BCBSRI is a true community partner committed to the good health of the next generation.

Nicole Dufresne, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence
2016-2017 Grant Recipients
Beat the Streets Providence Logo
Beat the Streets Providence

224 middle school students engaged in an after-school wrestling program

Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket Logo
Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket

Improved the health of 541 children through activities and signature programs

Boys & Girls Club of Providence Logo
Boys & Girls Club of Providence

Impacted 235 Rhode Island children in urban communities by using soccer to stay healthy and fit

Farm Fresh Rhode Island Logo
Farm Fresh Rhode Island

Reached 2,676 children and parents through SNAP & WIC incentives to buy fresh produce

Recycle-A-Bike Logo

204 children enjoyed year-round bicycle lessons & safety training

South County Food, Fitness & Fun Logo
South County Food, Fitness & Fun

Provided a family-based health intervention to 11 youth through nutrition and health education

Girls on the Run Rhode Island Logo
Girls on the Run Rhode Island

Provided running/wellness programming to 360 girls

Progreso Latino Logo
Progreso Latino

Created after-school sports leagues for 95 elementary school students

NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley Logo
NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley

90 Pre-K to high school students benefited from after-school programming providing 30-60 minutes of physical activity

RIPHI Food on the Move Logo
RIPHI Food on the Move

10,000 RIers have benefited from pop-up produce markets in low-income and low-access areas of RI

Woonsocket Head Start Child Development Association Logo
Woonsocket Head Start Child Development Association

Began a research study to explore parents’ perception of their children’s weight

Helping Schoolchildren Be Healthier

In 2017, BCBSRI supported Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition’s Move-A-Thon program which encouraged three Providence schools to develop a healthy fundraising alternative with the bonus of providing students an opportunity to be physically active. The activity based fundraisers were a great success and allowed the schools to keep 80% of the funds pledged!

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI understands the important influence the school community has in shaping healthy behaviors in children. In addition to their support for our work and programming in schools, they help us leverage other partnerships which allow us to be even more impactful. It's this greater sense of collaboration that makes our relationship with BCBSRI so beneficial.

Karin M. Wetherill, Wellness Coordinator, RI Healthy Schools Coalition

Increasing Physical Activity in RI Schools

In 2017, through our continued partnership with KIDS COUNT, BCBSRI funded a policy brief titled A Snapshot of Comprehensive Physical Activity Programs in Schools, outlining recommendations for recess and physical activity, including success stories from local districts.

Additionally, BCBSRI, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, and Rhode Island State Innovation Model (SIM) are working together to pursue a statewide BMI data collection effort for children and adults.

We are very pleased to continue our strong partnership with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island to address the issue of child and adolescent obesity. We know that one key strategy is to increase the physical activity of children and youth, including encouraging physical activity during school hours. In March 2017, we joined with BCBSRI for the release of our “Policy Brief: A Snapshot of Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs in Rhode Island,” which brought together leaders from government, schools, and community partners to have a spirited, strategic discussion on how to accelerate progress to ensure healthier kids. Physically active children have more active brains. When children are given the opportunity to move more throughout the day, they are better able to fulfill their potential.

Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT

Helping Improve Recess

As part of an ongoing effort to reduce childhood obesity, BCBSRI has teamed up with Playworks New England to implement #RecessRocksinRI. This partnership is made possible by a grant from BCBSRI and helps train educators on how to increase physical activity through the power of play. Through the 2016-2017 school year, #RecessRocksinRI reached approximately 14,762 children in Rhode Island, trained more than 240 teachers, and supported recess strategies in 36 elementary schools.

Access to Care

Strengthening the safety net

All Rhode Islanders deserve access to affordable, high quality care. By teaming up with providers and nonprofits, we’re helping the uninsured and underinsured receive much needed services.

Read More

Investing in Quality Care for All

Although access to healthcare has increased in recent years as a result of the Affordable Care Act, approximately 40,000 Rhode Islanders still do not have adequate insurance coverage. In 2016, we continued to fund clinics providing free and low­-cost healthcare services.

Clinica Esperanza
Clínica Esperanza

The CHEER walk­-in clinic provides free basic health services to the uninsured and underinsured.

Rhode Islanders helped
Rhode Island Oral Health Commission
Rhode Island Oral Health Foundation

Mission of Mercy 2016 is a two-­day dental clinic that provides free dental services.

Rhode Islanders helped
Rhode Island Free Clinic
Rhode Island Free Clinic

The clinic provides free primary care, specialty care, lab, wellness programs, and prescription assistance.

Rhode Islanders helped

Rhode Island Free Clinic relies 100 percent on volunteers and donations to provide healthcare to uninsured, low-income adults. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is one of our longest, strongest partners - their outstanding leadership, commitment, and support ensures that our patients - especially those struggling with chronic diseases - get the vital care and wellness services they need to get and stay healthy. We're proud to have BCBSRI on our team!

Marie Ghazal, DNP, MS, RN, Chief Executive Officer, Rhode Island Free Clinic

Health Literacy

Making the most of healthcare

At times, healthcare can seem like its own language. Our community programs help Rhode Islanders understand the system and get the most from their healthcare.

Read More

Promoting Health Education and Prevention

Our grassroots community wellness programs are designed to help Rhode Islanders protect their health.

Rhode Islanders impacted by wellness programs
Rhode Islanders vaccinated against the flu

Offering Diabetes Education for Seniors

Since 2015, hundreds of seniors have benefited from the education provided by doctors during Diabetes Boot Camp for Seniors. This program was the result of a partnership between BCBSRI and the American Diabetes Association. In 2016-2017, this program reached 380 community members.

Ensuring Access to Primary Care

Since 2012, we have been a significant funder of the Rhode Island Licensed Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program. This program offers health education loan repayments to primary care, dentistry, and mental health professionals who have made a two-year commitment to practice in medically underserved communities in Rhode Island. This helps address the shortage in primary care services that causes disparities in health.

Recipients working in underserved communities in 2016
New awardees announced in 2017

Asegúrate with Latino Public Radio

We continued our partnership with Latino Public Radio in 2016 by sponsoring the monthly radio show “Asegúrate,” translated as “Insure Yourself”. This one­ hour program helps educate Spanish speaking listeners about the healthcare system and often features BCBSRI employees as the show hosts.

Economic Progress Institute

In 2017, BCBSRI funded the issue brief titled “The State of Black Families in Rhode Island.” This brief provides data on a variety of different issue areas in communities of color in Rhode Island, including economic well-being, health, education, corrections, and housing. The brief shines a light on the current disparities between black and white Rhode Islanders and will be used to help develop policy solutions.

Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island

New in 2017, BCBSRI announced the launch of a new partnership to assist senior citizens through a number of health-related initiatives with Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island. The various health and wellness-themed workshops focused on nutritional education, physical screenings, vaccinations, stress management, and injury prevention for our seniors.

Shri Service Corps - Healthy Senior Project

In 2017, BCBSRI expanded its funding for Shri Yoga in order to assist the launch of the “Shri Healthy Senior Project” in which Shri Service Corps will provide free weekly yoga classes in an effort to promote healthy eating and physical activity for our low-income senior population.

Thundermist ― Trans* Health Access Team

The Trans* Health Access Team at Thundermist is the first dedicated, competent, and caring point of access to primary care for trans* adults in Rhode Island. BCBSRI is a founding funder. Since launching in 2015, Thundermist’s Trans* Health Access Team has met the needs of close to 400 patients.


Volunteering to make a difference

BCBSRI cannot effectively invest in our local community without the help of enthusiastic and engaged volunteers. From January 2016 through June 2017, BlueAngel volunteers gave more than 10,000 hours of service to the Rhode Island community.

Read More

Blue across Rhode Island

Celebrating the fifth anniversary of our company­wide day of service, our BlueAngel employee volunteers made a direct impact on the community:


I can't thank you all enough for what you did…You have touched so many lives that you will never even meet. I wish I could have taken video footage of the faces of the kids especially when they entered the shelter and saw the sun on the wall. One parent said the sun reminded her that things will be okay.

Crossroads Rhode Island – Family Shelter manager
hours donated
Employee volunteers
Organizations supported
Rhode Islanders impacted
Children impacted

A Friendly Food Drive Competition

The 2016 annual Thanksgiving food drive involved a new element: competing with our neighbors at Amica to raise the most food for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

Food items collected by both BCBSRI and Amica

Supporting Local Nonprofit Leaders

For the fifth year, we continued our partnership with The Rhode Island Foundation’s Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence Board Referral. This initiative helps ensure that members who serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations are both capable and committed.

We’re thrilled to partner with BCBSRI to both strengthen boards and highlight excellent nonprofit work. This work is invaluable to the sector.

Jill Pfitzenmayer, Rhode Island Foundation

Looking for Volunteers? Let Us Know.

Email us at for more information on how to get our BlueAngel volunteers involved at your organization.


Caring for our community

Our state’s diversity is its strength. We strive to improve the quality of life of every Rhode Islander through improved health and by contributing to the success of a vibrant business community.

Read More

Best Place to Work Recognitions

We were honored to receive two awards for our workplace culture last year.

Providence Business News Best Places to Work

This award is given based on confidential employee surveys and management reports.

2017 Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality

For the third year in a row, BCBSRI received a score of 100% on the Corporate Equality Index, which measures corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workplace equality.

LGBTQ Safe Zone Certification

Research and our community members have told us that it is a struggle to find healthcare professionals who provide safe and affirming care to LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) patients. Through our LGBTQ Safe Zone Certification program, we’re happy to announce that in 2016, 12 sites had been certified: three health centers; three dental clinics; four behavioral health practices; one partial hospitalization program; and one specialty practice.

Supplier Diversity Efforts Exceed Target

This program encourages small or diverse businesses—at least 51% owned by people of color, women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, veterans, or those in other underrepresented groups—to participate in the competitive bid process for goods and services. In 2016, our corporate spending with this group of suppliers continued to grow, exceeding our target goals.

Employee Resource Groups

During the past two years, we’ve created the framework within which employee resource groups (ERGs) could help connect employees around specific dimensions of diversity while supporting our business objectives. In 2016, we were able to launch five ERGs: Blue pRide, Emerging Blue Talent, Latin@Link, Military Services ERG, and Parents@Work.

ERGs have added a new dimension to working at BCBSRI. One of the most positive elements of this initiative is the fact that the groups are created and developed by associates for associates. To me, that’s a sign of true engagement with our mission and culture.

Michele Lederberg, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, BCBSRI