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UWATX Receives Major Gift from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas

On August 28, 2012 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) responded to an urgent “call to action” from United Way for Greater Austin (UWATX) and challenged other corporate citizens to do the same. In July, UWATX announced that it had to cut grant funding for a number of the local nonprofits it had supported in prior. When UWATX had to make cuts to their grants due to fundraising shortfalls they immediately put out a call-to-action to the community to increase giving to pre-recession levels.

“The UWATX Board and staff were personally devastated that these cuts were necessary, and felt compelled to do all they could to help the affected agencies. They asked themselves: ‘What can we do?’” said Debbie Bresette, president of UWATX. “Several board members and staff made personal donations and others organized fundraisers. We also reached out to a great corporate citizen, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and asked them to respond to the call-to-action. And respond they did.”

Because of its mission to improve wellness within its communities, BCBSTX pledged $100,000 to UWATX and designated their gift to help five local charitable organizations that support the health of children and senior citizens with $20,000.00 grants each. Agencies are: Any Baby Can, Austin Groups for the Elderly, Meals on Wheels and More, People’s Community Clinic, and Safeplace.

“We work for a customer-owned company and we understand the commitment that nonprofits make to the people they serve,” said Bert Marshall, president of BCBSTX. “Helping others has been part of our DNA for seven decades and we’re not going to let our neighbors down. Now we’d like to challenge our corporate neighbors to step up as well. Let’s thank the people of Austin for the privilege to do business in this great city.”

BCBSTX supports and implements programs every year that help improve the health and wellness of its communities. For example, its “Healthy Kids, Healthy Families” initiative aims to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of children through nutrition education, promoting physical activity, preventing and managing disease as well as supporting safe environments. In addition, its public service website, www.BeSmartBeWell.com, provides prevention and management tips for many controversial health issues.

“Both United Way for Greater Austin and the people of Austin are extremely grateful to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas for stepping up to the plate once again,” said UWATX Board Member Ben Bentzin. “Blue Cross has always supported our community, but it takes a real member of the family to go that extra mile when times get tough. I encourage all Austinites to find one of Blue Cross’s 4.8 million members and thank them for being part of such a great organization.”

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