Employees give back to United Way

By Gloris Estrella
Monday, July 23, 2018
Premera Blue Cross employees

Photo: Premera Blue Cross employees participating in a poverty simulation. Photo by Alexandra Gunnoe.

Premera Blue Cross employees are passionate about giving back to the community. In addition to the $3 million in Premera Social Impact grants, employees donated their time and money for our annual employee giving campaign primarily supporting United Way of Snohomish County and Spokane County United Way.

This year our campaign set a record. With matching funds from Premera, employees raised over $675,000 that will go directly to our nonprofit partners who are addressing poverty in the community.

The United Way of Snohomish County addresses the issue of poverty by working with partners to create a new system that relies on collaboration. With this innovative approach, the Creating Open Roads to Equity (CORE) program is about placing the whole family at the center of this collaborative effort to better meet the needs of both the children and the adults together. The Spokane County United Way brings together local partners to invest in programs with measured results.

Poverty simulation

To understand the vital work to address the issue, we held poverty simulations, organized by United Way, for our employees to provide insights from low-income participants about what it’s like to be living at, or below the poverty line. The simulations also captured the role that the broader community plays through interactions with low-income families.

This exercise helped participants understand the complexities of poverty, and paves the way for addressing these issues more comprehensively.

As a participant, employees were given a profile of a person experiencing poverty. Throughout the training, they encountered different scenarios that a person would experience including navigating social services agencies and walking in the shoes of a person experiencing homelessness.

At the end of the session, participants had a better understanding of how the United Way of Snohomish County is working to mitigate poverty in our community.

Along significant financial contributions, hundreds of hours were donated to the employee giving campaigns, further exemplifying the strong commitment to the community by Premera employees.

Gloris Estrella is part of Premera Social Impact and leads community engagement programs at Premera Blue Cross.

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