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Making an Impact

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and Northwestern Medicine join forces to refresh schools on Chicago’s biggest day of service.

Over 250 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) employees and their families and friends volunteered their time and effort to refresh Chicago Public Schools facilities on the city’s South and West Sides.

Even better, BCBSIL partnered with Northwestern Medicine to expand our impact. Both organizations are committed to helping improve the communities they serve as providers of health care and coverage.

The day of service on June 23, 2018, was part of the 25th annual Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon. The event mobilizes volunteers throughout the city to build a stronger, more unified Chicago.

Together, a wave of over 600 BCBSIL and Northwestern volunteers set out to enhance Fenger Academy, Foreman College and Career Academy, Kelvyn Park High School, Tilden Career Community Academy and Webster Elementary School.

“With our employees being in health care delivery, it’s part of our DNA to serve people,” said Posh Charles, vice president of community services for Northwestern Medicine.

The volunteers painted school interiors to brighten classrooms and hallways for students. They painted murals of inspirational images, phrases and school emblems. They decorated cafeterias with glass-tile mosaics promoting healthy choices and nutrition. They made college pennants to encourage students to pursue higher learning. Exteriors were spruced up with new planters, architectural benches and landscaping.

Strengthening Communities and Partnerships

In all, the volunteers’ efforts helped CPS save an estimated $3 million. The impact, however, extends far beyond the financial value.

Getting out and physically engaging in service helps BCBSIL build deeper connections with our members and communities. The contributions of the volunteers will have a lasting impact, providing students with the positive school environments they deserve.

Giving back is part of the BCBSIL culture, and we thank Northwestern Medicine for the opportunity to work together to bring positivity into the lives of others.

Visit the Chicago Cares website to learn about year-round projects in addition to the Serve-a-thon. Also visit the Chicago Public Schools website to learn more about the schools that benefited from the day of service.

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

BCBSIL Partners With Northwestern Medicine


JILL WOLOWITZ: The Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon is the largest day of volunteerism for businesses in Chicago. And of course, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois is a big part of that. This year, we sponsored our Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon outreach with Northwestern Madison. So, it's great that we're partnering with another pillar of health care in Chicago.

POSH CHARLES: Some of the schools we're in today are schools that we all support in different ways through Blue Cross and Northwestern Medicine. So, to be in places where our charitable dollars are parked and we're already doing other programming is really cool.

STEPHANIE VOMVOURAS: It means a lot to me to give back to the community and to help people. I mean, that's why I'm a physician in the first place. So, this is particularly meaningful.

JOHN KHOURY: Remembering why we do it and who we're doing it for it is an important foundation point to our organization.

LINDA HARRIS: All the students, when they come back to school, they deserve to come into a fresh building, a new year, and just be able to actually enjoy the scenery of their school.

ELEANORE WESTERBECK: Knowing that people spent their time and effort to make your school a better place for you to be every day, it means a lot.

JILL WOLOWITZ: It's a great opportunity to come out and support the principals, the teachers, the families, and most of all the kids.

For our employees, being in health care delivery, it's part of their DNA to serve people.

MARIBEL CALLOWAY: The happiness you can't go and describe how happy we are. And this is very important for us.

PHILIP BELT: Giving back to the community, just helping out.

ELEANORE WESTERBECK: You just get a feeling of giving back and feeling that you're really helping.

POSH CHARLES: Blue Cross and Northwestern medicine are two of Chicago's leading health care institutions. And giving back to the community together as business partners is wonderful.