CareFirst Increases Community Giving in 2012

Nearly $57 million in grants, sponsorships and programs focused on health care

Baltimore, MD (February 20, 2013) - As the mid-Atlantic region’s largest health insurer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) is committed to funding programs focused on addressing health care access, promoting healthy lifestyles and spurring improvements in health outcomes in the communities it serves.

In 2012, CareFirst contributed nearly $57 million in grants and more than 5,800 volunteer hours to support over 400 nonprofit organizations, health care access programs and charitable events throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia. The company provided $51 million in funding in 2011.

CareFirst focused its community giving on four areas: improving maternal and child health; battling the obesity epidemic; addressing the region’s shortage of nurses; and expanding to the region’s safety net health clinics CareFirst’s Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program, which focuses on strengthening the relationship between patients and their primary care provider (PCP) to better coordinate patients’ care.

For example, CareFirst announced more than $8.5 million in funding last year to safety net health centers in the region, and the company and its employees contributed almost $1.4 million to the American Heart Association and United Way campaigns.

“We are very proud of the work we do in the community and continue to find ways to reach those in need,” said Chet Burrell, CareFirst President and CEO. “We have a strong commitment to identifying investments that will enhance and expand capacity among local organizations to provide quality, affordable health care services.”

2012 Major Grant Activity

  • PCMH Safety Net Health Center Program: CareFirst announced it will give more than $8.5 million over three years to help 12 safety net health center programs in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. The funding will be used to launch medical home and care coordination programs for the region’s most vulnerable population, the chronically ill. In all, the funded programs are expected to provide health care access to as many as 35,000 individuals throughout the region.
  • B’more for Healthy Babies: In 2012, CareFirst donated more than $1 million to the Baltimore City Health Department and its B’more for Healthy Babies (BHB) program to help reduce infant mortality. CareFirst’s initial $3 million commitment to the program in 2009 was followed by decreasing infant mortality rates in Baltimore in 2010 and 2011. Baltimore, which had the fourth-highest infant mortality rate in the U.S. in 2009, also has seen improvements in healthy birth weights and sleep death rates for the city’s infants.
  • Y of Central Maryland: CareFirst announced $280,000 in new funding for the Y of Central Maryland’s Fit N Fun program that addresses childhood obesity by educating children and parents on the importance of physical activity and healthy eating habits. Since 2004, CareFirst has given nearly $2.5 million to fund YMCA health and wellness programs in the region.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington: The company announced funding of $300,000 during a three-year period that began in 2012. The money will be used to support the Boys & Girls Club’s after-school and summer programs that encourage healthy eating and academic performance for children at Richard England Clubhouse 14 in Ward 7 of Washington, D.C.

Employee Giving Campaign

CareFirst employees participated in two nonprofit fundraising campaigns in 2012 — the American Heart Association (AHA) Heart Walks and the United Way. The American Heart Walks gave CareFirst employees the opportunity to raise money from co-workers, family and friends for a Heart Walk in their community. CareFirst President and CEO Chet Burrell chaired the and with the help of CareFirst employees and other Baltimore-area companies, raised a record $1.4 million for the event to help fight heart disease and stroke. In all, CareFirst employees raised more than $500,000 for four AHA Heart Walks.

CareFirst’s United Way campaign raised more than $870,000, which included the company’s dollar-for-dollar matching grant contributions and another $20,000 from a charity golf tournament. CareFirst employees raised nearly $1.4 million for the two campaigns.

CareFirst in the Community

CareFirst employees donated more than 5,800 volunteer hours in communities in and around the insurer’s service area. On Sept. 11, 2012, CareFirst employees honored the National Day of Service by helping to revitalize the Oliver neighborhood of Baltimore City — a community plagued by crime and housing abandonment. This opportunity was a part of the Operation Oliver initiative — a veteran-led community service project.

CareFirst employees also volunteered at organizations such as the Susan G. Komen and Making Strides breast cancer walks, the American Diabetes Society and Greater D.C. Cares -- all organizations CareFirst sponsors. Other company sponsorships included Health Care for the Homeless’ Chocolate Affair event, an event that raised money for essential health care services for children and families experiencing homelessness, and Everybody Wins, a program that promotes wellness and literacy to low-income elementary school children in the Washington, D.C., area.

“Our community giving program is focused on increasing access to quality health care to the area’s most vulnerable individuals,” said Maria Harris Tildon, CareFirst Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Community Affairs. “In addition to the substantial financial commitment CareFirst makes in the community, we are proud that CareFirst employees are deeply committed to giving their time and personal resources to organizations that make our community healthier.”

About CareFirst

In its 76th year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.4 million individuals and groups in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2012, CareFirst contributed $57 million to community programs designed to increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of health care throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter: