2017 Community Report — Introduction (Section 1)

2017 Community Report

2017 Community Investment Report

Investing in the Health of All Rhode Islanders

For nearly 80 years, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has been dedicated to improving the health of all Rhode Islanders. To achieve meaningful impact, we partner with results-oriented local nonprofits that help Rhode Islanders live better lives every day.

Through our BlueAngel Community Investment Program, we support these nonprofits and programs with an aim of addressing the most critical health issues facing Rhode Islanders—from our signature efforts combating childhood obesity to education bolstering health literacy to access to high-quality care for the uninsured. We’re grateful to our many community partners and our engaged employees for all they do to improve the quality of life and health of Rhode Islanders. Their impact will last for generations.

This report highlights some of our accomplishments from 2017.


It is an honor to do our part in creating a healthier state by teaming up with organizations working hard every day to improve the lives of Rhode Islanders.

Kim A. Keck President and CEO BCBSRI

2017 Community Investment by the Numbers

Organizations supported through in-kind donations, volunteerism, or financial support

Volunteer hours served

Value of volunteer hours*

Generated by employee fundraising

Invested by the company through financial or in-kind donations

*Source: Independent Sector

2017 Community Report — Healthy Kids (Section 2)

Healthy Kids

Healthy Kids

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Healthy Kids bike icon



Nearly one-third of children in Rhode Island are overweight or obese,

which can increase their risk for asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other serious medical conditions.* To help protect children’s health now and in the future, we support programs that promote fitness and good nutrition.

*Youth Behavior Risk Survey, Rhode Island

Beat the Streets Providence

BlueAngel logo

BlueAngel Community Health Grants

Each year, BCBSRI invests in Rhode Island’s future through the BlueAngel Community Health Grant program.

Icon money269,000Awarded in grants

Icon person9,309Rhode Island children and family members impacted

The support of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has allowed the Rhode Island Public Health Institute to expand its evidence-based program to many children across the state. Our Food on the Move program helps make fruits and vegetables affordable to over 5,000 Rhode Islanders. Without BCBSRI, this would not be possible.

Amy Nunn, ScD Executive Director, Rhode Island Public Health Institute Associate Professor of Public Health and Medicine, Brown University


grant recipients

Girls on the Run logo

Girls on the Run Rhode Island

509 girls participated in this running program that also helps them make healthy decisions.

Progreso Latino Logo

Progreso Latino

131 Central Falls elementary school students participated in newly created after-school sports leagues, with their parents attending nutrition information sessions.

Neighbor Works logo

NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley

149 children from pre-kindergarten through high school engaged in 30 to 60 minutes daily of physical activity through their after-school programming.

Food on the Move logo

RI Public Health Institute's Food on the Move

2,146 people visited expanded sites for pop-up produce markets, with extended hours, in low-income and low-access areas of Rhode Island.

CDA logo

Woonsocket Head Start Child Development Association

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

Recess Rocks In RI logo
Recess Rocks in RI


Recess is a time for children to have fun, create positive relationships with each other and their teachers, and have the opportunity to be physically active.

#RecessRocksinRI is a partnership between Playworks, Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition, and BCBSRI. The goal of the initiative is to ensure recess is a safe, meaningful, and healthy place for every child.

Since 2015, #RecessRocksinRI has impacted 15,000 students, 200 educators, and 36 schools in 16 districts throughout the state.

Find out if your child’s school participates.







“The program has been transformative in both urban and suburban schools. The strategies that students learn to help solve minor conflicts find their way back into the school as well, promoting a more cooperative classroom.”

Karin Wetherill
Co-Director, Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition

Healthy Kids Playground

RIHSC logo

Helping schools raise money with movement

In 2017, BCBSRI supported Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition's Move-A-Thon program.

Three Providence schools developed a healthy school fundraising alternative to unhealthy candy sales, 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.

Poster Contest

American Heart Association logo

Promoting heart health in schools

BCBSRI was again proud to serve as the lead sponsor of the American Heart Association's poster competition in partnership with the Rhode Island Foundation.

The GET HEALTHY! Poster Contest received nearly 6,000 submissions from across Rhode Island by students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Students were asked to draw a picture of their favorite physical activity and favorite healthy food or demonstrate how physical activity and healthy eating help build healthy hearts, healthy families, and healthy communities. Winning posters were selected and recognized at a special celebration at the Rhode Island State House.

Kids Count

Kids Count logo

Using data to inform needs

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

In addition, BCBSRI, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, and Rhode Island State Innovation Model (SIM) are working together to pursue a statewide body mass index data collection effort for children and adults.

In March 2017, we joined with BCBSRI for the release of our policy brief, 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

NBC 10 logo

Introducing NBC 10 Health Check Kids

Beginning last October, we kicked off a 37-week partnership with WJAR NBC 10 called Health Check Kids. Barbara Morse Silva, NBC 10's Health Check reporter, hosts a segment every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. that discusses the overall wellness of Rhode Island children.

Topics include healthy eating, physical activity, family engagement, mental health, state and national policy issues, and health trends. You'll find some of the 2017 segments included in this report.

2017 Community Report — Access to Care (Section 3)

Access to Care

Access to Care

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In 2017, BCBSRI continued to fund clinics that provide free and low-cost services to the uninsured and the underinsured.

Though access to healthcare has increased in recent years thanks to the Affordable Care Act, about 45,000 Rhode Islanders are still uninsured.*

*U.S. Census Bureau

 Rhode Island Free Clinic

Rhode Island Free Clinic logo

Offering wellness services to the uninsured

We awarded a $75,000 grant to the Rhode Island Free Clinic (RIFC) for their important work providing primary care, specialty care, lab tests, and other medical care to the uninsured.

The funding also allowed RIFC to offer wellness programs, including diabetes education, nutrition counseling, fitness, and physical therapy.

Icon person2,071uninsured Rhode Islanders received services at RIFC in 2017

Clínica Esperanza/Hope Clinic

Clinica Esperanza logo

Helping with the transition to health insurance

We are a long-time supporter of Clínica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, which serves a large population of predominantly Spanish-speaking uninsured patients.

Through their Bridging the Gap program, they are helping patients who will in time transition to insured care through Medicaid. In 2017, we continued our support of the Bridging the Gap program, which has reached out to more than 1,000 Rhode Islanders who have health disparities. Of these, 400 were eligible and are enrolled in the program.

Star iconBCBSRI was recognized as a founding Partner in Philanthropy by Clínica Esperanza/Hope Clinic.

Promoting a healthy community

Promoting a healthy community

BCBSRI hosted free wellness programs and screenings across Rhode Island to help our community members protect and monitor their health.

We also partner with other outreach programs like United Way 2-1-1 to enhance services and offerings.

Circle health72Wellness programs and screenings

Icon person1,218Rhode Islanders assisted by these programs

United Way 2-1-1

Star iconBCBSRI was honored by United Way 2-1-1 with the Philanthropic Partner Award.

2017 Community Report — Health Equity & Quality (Section 4)

Health Equity & Quality

Health Equity & Quality

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We continue to support initiatives that eliminate disparities in healthcare, enhance health literacy, and strengthen the primary care workforce.

Offering Diabetes Boot Camps for Seniors

Senior Signature Series

Offering Diabetes Boot Camps for Seniors

Since 2015, hundreds of seniors have benefited from the education provided by the American Diabetes Association during their Diabetes Boot Camp for Seniors series.

In addition to financial support, BCBSRI provides nutritionists, care managers, and other staff to support the events.

Icon person151seniors participated in 2017

The State of Black Families in Rhode Island

The Economic Progress Institute logo

Providing data on healthcare disparities

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

Meals on Wheels logo

Delivering workshops with Meals on Wheels

BCBSRI launched a partnership to assist senior citizens through a number of health and wellness initiatives with Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island. The workshops focused on nutritional education, physical screenings, stress management, and injury prevention for our seniors.

For the past two years, BCBSRI employees have volunteered their time to create personalized Veteran’s Day cards for all 1,000 veterans in Rhode Island receiving Meals on Wheels home delivery.

Dr. Pablo Rodriguez

LPR logo

Sponsoring Asegúrate with Latino Public Radio

Since 2012, we’ve worked closely with Dr. Pablo Rodriguez and the team at Latino Public Radio.

Through our sponsored radio show “Asegúrate” (Insure Yourself), which regularly features BCBSRI employees as hosts, Latino Public Radio listeners have learned about healthcare, wellness, and health insurance.

American Heart Association Go Red For Women
Melissa Cummings


In the U.S., cardiovascular diseases kill one woman approximately every 80 seconds. Yet with education and lifestyle changes, eight out of 10 cardiac events may be prevented.*

That’s why BCBSRI continues to support the Go Red For Women® movement, which advocates for more research and swifter action on women's heart health. BCBSRI Chief Customer Officer Melissa Cummings served as chairwoman of The 2017 Southern New England Go Red for Women luncheon, which raised a record amount—more than $460,000—for the American Heart Association.

*American Heart Association

Shri Yoga

Shri Yoga logo

Funding yoga for students and seniors

In 2017, BCBSRI continued funding for Shri Service Corps’ Healthy Students/Balanced Schools, providing yoga classes for students in communities at high risk of obesity.

We also expanded our funding to assist in the launch of the Shri Healthy Senior Project, which has delivered 48 senior yoga classes at the Bristol Senior Center and the Sal Mancini Center in North Providence.

Icon person200adults and children took Shri classes in 2017

Star iconBCBSRI was honored by Shri with the Spotlight Award.


RI Department of Health logo

Ensuring access to primary care

Since 2012, we’ve 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. Through this program, we’re helping address the shortage in primary care services that is one of the causes of disparities in health status.

Icon person18Loan repayment awards granted in 2017

The Trans Health Access Team

Thundermist Health Center logo

Funding the 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.

Circle icon600Patients have been assisted by the Trans* Health Access Team since 2015

Trans* is an umbrella term that refers to all of the identities within the gender identity spectrum.

2017 Community Report — Service (Section 5)



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BCBSRI investments in our local community are more effective with the help of enthusiastic and engaged volunteers.

In 2017, BlueAngel volunteers—our employees—gave more than 8,400 hours of service to communities statewide.

Blue Across RI

Blue across Rhode Island 2017

On Friday, September 15, hundreds of BCBSRI employees completed large-scale volunteer projects at nonprofit agencies across the state during our sixth annual company-wide day of service.

Icon time3,200Hours of volunteer service

Icon person588Employee volunteers participated

Icon nonprofit13Nonprofit organizations assisted

Icon Building45,136Rhode Islanders impacted

Icon person22,217Children helped

Video credit: Riverzedge Arts

PBN Award

BCBRSI received Providence Business News’ (PBN) Community Involvement Award for local businesses that make a positive impact in the community through philanthropy and volunteerism.

The award is part of the PBN Business Excellence Awards, which recognizes leadership and general excellence at private and public companies and nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island.

Supporting local nonprofit leaders

Rhode Island Foundation logo

Supporting local nonprofit leaders

We continued to encourage BCBSRI employees to serve on local boards through our Board Referral program with The Rhode Island Foundation’s Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence.

This partnership helps match our employees with boards of nonprofit organizations where their services and talents can best be used.

Disaster relief

American Red Cross logo                              Dorcas International Institute logo

Responding to current crises

To assist with relief efforts for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria, BCBSRI made a significant charitable contribution to the American Red Cross. We also provided resources to employees looking to donate personally to victims of these disasters.

In response to the termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, BCBSRI provided financial support to Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, which helped DACA enrollees submit renewal requests.

RI Community Food Bank volunteers

RI Community Food Bank logo                          Gobble Games

Donating food for Rhode Islanders in need

This year’s Thanksgiving drive continued our annual Gobble Games competition within the BCBSRI building to collect the most food for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

Icon utensils26,689food items for Rhode Islanders in need

Icon money10,000matching contribution to the Food Bank

Overdose: Inside the Epidemic – A Second Opinion Special


PBS logo

For the second year running, we devoted our annual community meeting to raising awareness and educating the community about this public health crisis. In partnership with WSBE Rhode Island PBS, we hosted an exclusive screening of Overdose: Inside the Epidemic – A Second Opinion Special in December 2017.

After the screening, local experts offered their perspectives about the drug epidemic and removing stigma, which is a barrier to prevention, treatment, and recovery. Learn how to keep stigma out of the discussion with Say This, Not That.

We also gave a $20,000 grant to The Providence Center to support development of the Anchor Youth Recovery Community Center, the first youth-focused substance use disorder recovery community center in Rhode Island. The center will promote the Alternative Peer Group model, an evidence-based strategy that uses positive peer pressure to reduce risky behaviors and support abstinence. Learn more about our efforts in our 2017 Annual Report.

The Providence Center

Icon money20,000grant to The Providence Center to support youth recovery

Looking for volunteers? Let us know

Email us at blueangel_news@bcbsri.org to learn how to get our BlueAngel volunteers involved at your organization.