2023 Community Partnerships Report

We believe in Louisiana, which is why our foundation, parent company, and its employees invest millions each year in our state and its people.


At the time that I'm writing this, I've spent the last few weeks on the road with my team at meetings across Louisiana with nonprofit, civic, and community leaders.

Together, we've been learning and sharing the good news of what's working to improve the health and lives of Louisiana's people, as well as brainstorming ways to tackle persistent challenges.

There's always more work to do, but the experience has reaffirmed the unmitigated, unshakeable power of passionate people who care deeply about their communities who — when empowered with support and resources —change systems, blaze trails, and make life better for the people around them.

The work that this report celebrates is the collective impact of tens of thousands of everyday people who make room in their lives for extending a hand to those in need.

From nonprofits who provide lifesaving services day in and day out, to Blue Cross employees who give tens of thousands of hours in service and millions of their own resources in charitable gifts each year — these are the hands paving the path for a brighter future.

In 2023, we were honored to be selected by the Points of Light Foundation as a member of the The Civic 50, a list of the most community-minded companies in America. While many other honorees on that list have national and international footprints, all of our investments and impact are focused entirely on Louisiana.

We are humbled to be a part of so much extraordinary good.

With gratitude,

Michael Tipton
President, Blue Cross Foundation
Head of Community Relations

2023 Highlights

45,000+ HOURS

by employee volunteers


in employee donations


in corporate sponsorships


made to Louisiana nonprofits to address the Social Determinants of Health


for Louisianians experiencing food insecurity in 2024


including health screenings and services, mental health supports, meals, supplies, and more provided by community partners


Improving the health and lives of Louisianians means more than just paying claims on time. It’s a commitment that we make to each and every one of our friends, families and neighbors to use our might for right.

Our employees live this commitment by giving their time, talent and financial resources to Louisiana’s nonprofits through Team Blue, our volunteer force.

We believe that connecting our employees to causes they care about makes us real to our customers, builds community trust and opens up a new dimension of our company’s mission for the people who work here. Our people support the causes they care about with more than just their dollars – they back it up with hands and hearts.

45,418 hours

of community service given to Louisiana nonprofits

$4.5 million

total valuation of employee charitable donations, supply donations, and volunteer time

Item 1 of 8


Operation Warm

Each year, Blue Cross employee volunteers partner with Operation Warm to distribute thousands of coats to children in schools with high numbers of children living in poverty.


Our company has a long history of investing in Louisiana’s nonprofit community. We partner with hundreds of organizations each year to empower them in fighting food insecurity, improving educational opportunity, opening up access to care, responding to disasters, and more.

In 2022, we invested $1.2 million in sponsorships and project funding in 178 community partners and 350 events across the state.

With these dollars, our partners produced phenomenal impact, including:

  • 6,000+ free dental screenings and services by the Louisiana Dental Association Foundation
  • 600 Comfort Care Bags in support of families whose children are facing complex or terminal illnesses by the Bella Bowman Foundation
  • 12,000 nights of accommodation for cancer patients and caregivers travelling out of town for treatment by the American Cancer Society
  • Career and financial services for nearly 800 unemployed or underemployed people by HOPE Ministries of Baton Rouge
  • Tens of thousands of health screenings by partners like Louisiana Pediatric Cardiology Foundation, Miles Perret Cancer Services, and many more

$1.2 million

in sponsorships made to Louisiana nonprofits

8.2 million

services provided by sponsored partners

Item 1 of 3


Louisiana Marathon

Each year, Blue Cross sponsors walks and races for people of all levels of ability, including the Louisiana Marathon. We also partner with organizations like Ainsley's Angels to make it possible for athletes with disabilities to fully participate in events across the state.


The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is a separate nonprofit organization that makes grants to improve the social determinants of health for all Louisianians.

The Foundation also works to build community partnerships that deepen the impact of the work everyday people are doing to improve the state.

Lastly, the Foundation continues to recognize people doing extraordinary good for Louisiana’s children with The Angel Award, a legacy program that provides $30,000 grants to each honoree’s nonprofit of choice.

$4 million

in grants made to 37 Louisiana nonprofits

3.4 million

services provided by grant partners

New Horizons Grants

The New Horizons grant fund encourages a research-based and scientific approach to philanthropy through testing ideas and seeing what works. Nonprofits with innovative ideas can receive up to $25,000 in support of a pilot program, with the understanding that they report lessons learned for others within the field.

2023 New Horizons Grantees:

  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation to study the impact of systemic bias in early childhood home visiting programs.
  • Mary’s Hands Network to train and empower women as volunteer doulas to improve the rate of healthy births in Louisiana.
  • Louisiana-Mississippi Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Inc. to provide education and resources to people with long-term and chronic illnesses.

Special Projects Grants

The Special Projects grant fund makes one-time investments to scale or grow successful programs that, in most cases, have been previously funded by Blue Cross or its Foundation.

2023 Special Projects Grantees:

  • Three O’clock Project to grow their partnerships with schools in East Baton Rouge Parish, proving after-school and weekend food to kids and families living in poverty.
  • The Children’s Bureau of New Orleans to train educators and support professionals in trauma-informed, evidence-based treatments and provide mental health services to young people who have experienced trauma.
  • Luke’s House Clinic to provide mental health services to people in the Latinx community, with an emphasis on services to children under the age of 12.
  • LSU AgCenter to improve and install playgrounds in rural communities with poor health outcomes, offering more options for safe, healthy play.
  • LSU to provide a college experience for young people with developmental disabilities that prepares them for the workforce and integrates them into campus life.
  • State Library Association to help libraries across the state provide telehealth access for patrons in rural areas to more easily see a doctor.
  • Louisiana CASA Association to improve models of advocacy for children in foster care across the state.
  • Jefferson Community Foundation to build a diverse early education workforce in Jefferson Parish that is organizationally competent and culturally responsive to young children and their families.
  • Food Bank of Central Louisiana to scale up a successful pilot program that provided food for children and families through local libraries and other community hubs.
  • Family Justice Center of Central Louisiana to provide mental health services and wraparound services to young people affected by trauma.
  • Dollywood Foundation to support the Imagination Library of Louisiana, which sends books to children free of charge.
  • The BREC Foundation to build a universal playground at Independence Community Park.


Split Second Cares

The Split Second Cares Foundation is providing community and wraparound support for people living with paralysis, stroke, or amputation.

Collective Impact Grants

The Collective Impact grant fund supports coalitions of community partners working together to solve a large-scale health challenge. Grants are up to $1 million over three years.

2023 Collective Impact Grantees:

  • University of New Orleans to help first-generation college students studying for the medical profession with scholarships, mentorship, and workforce preparation, and financial support.
  • United Way of Acadiana to build a coalition of partners making fresher, healthier food options available at corner stores in the north side of Lafayette.
  • Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance to establish Healthcare Career Central, which connects K-12 students to healthcare careers.
  • Southern University System Foundation to establish a nursing program at Southern University New Orleans, increasing the number of nursing professionals of color graduated and licensed in the region.
  • McNeese State University Foundation to grow a pipeline of mental health professionals graduated and licensed in Southwest Louisiana.


About The Angel Award

To live healthy lives, children need safe places to live, learn and play. They need access to healthy food, guidance and educational opportunities. Across Louisiana, there are thousands of children without access to the support they need to thrive.

Thankfully, there are also thousands of everyday people working to make a difference in the lives of children.

The Angel Award® honors everyday people doing extraordinary good to meet the physical, emotional, creative or spiritual needs of Louisiana’s kids. Since 1995, the Foundation has recognized more than 200 of these outstanding individuals.

Frederick Burgess
Stop the Violence | Alexandria, LA

Fredrick Burgess is a law enforcement officer and the founder of Stop the Violence, a program that helps young people escape backgrounds of poverty, crime, and drugs. Determined to put an end to youth violence in his city, Burgess founded his organization to provide after school programs, mentorship, and safe play spaces.

Stop the Violence also offers career readiness programs and works one-on-one with young people to demonstrate love and caring, improve their grades, and set goals for the future. Most importantly, Burgess works to build relationships of mutual trust between communities and local law enforcement to end fatal law enforcement encounters. Stop the Violence has provided programming to more than 1,100 young people in the last few years.

Mary Barrios
Friends of Unity Park | Farmerville

Mary Barrios is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Town of Farmerville. While she is active in many programs, she was nominated of her work in creating programs that celebrate diversity and inclusion among young people — including children of Farmerville’s sizeable Latin population and children with disabilities.

She has created festivals, learning outreach, and service projects that reach more than 3,000 children each year and help them find belonging in their community, building connections and resilience.

Lisa Conly Cronin
Common Ground Community | Shreveport

Lisa Cronin is a decorated attorney who has been recognized for her pro bono and community volunteerism. She is also the volunteer CEO of Common Ground, which is located in Shreveport's Cedar Grove Community.

Common Ground is primarily volunteer-driven, with support from many churches and organizations in the Shreveport-Bossier-Benton region. The organization builds community through compassionate outreach, genuine care, and acceptance of all people.

Every week, Common Ground serves a free community meal to about 200 people and provides access to clothes closet and food pantry. It provides after-school tutoring, free summer day camp, and a Youth Program for teen boys. The Common Ground Girls Group visits homeless camps and walks in the neighborhood to strengthen community relationships. Common Ground seeks for all its programs to promote dignity and move people toward self-sufficiency.

Chantelle Varnado
LAUNCH Therapy Center | Denham Springs

Chantelle Varnado founded Launch Therapy Center to provide speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy to young people with disabilities. With few options available in Livingston Parish, Varnado hoped to provide early identification and initiation of therapy services for children to meet their crucial needs early in life.

Launch Therapy Center is one of only three pediatric therapy centers in the area and is currently the only clinic in the area that provides holistic therapy services. To date, it has served more than 1,500 children and their families.

Varnado is in the clinic every day, checking in with her therapists and patients and providing hands-on therapy when needed. She is beloved by clients, families, and staff for her enduring commitment to their wellbeing.

Blue Angel: Tamiko Francis Garrison
Mayor's Youth Advisory Council | Donaldsonville

Tamiko Francis Garrison is the Manager of Medicare Advantage Compliance Programs here at BCBSLA. She also serves as a part-time Justice of the Peace for the 1st Justice Court, Parish of Ascension and is very active in the Donaldsonville community. Garrison is passionate and seeks to change the world one youth at a time.

Through her community activism, she is the founder and coordinator of the Donaldsonville Mayor's Youth Advisory Council (MYAC). Since its inception in 2014, the mission has been to advocate on behalf of the Donaldsonville youth. To accomplish their goals, Garrison secures access to the elected officials, business leaders and community leaders across the State and works actively with these leaders to create a shared vision that values the voices and experiences of young people.

Garrison is charged with planning, organizing, and implementing youth-led service and experiential-learning projects. Young people learn about the problems facing their communities and how to take an active role in volunteerism, planning, and advocacy on behalf of themselves and others. Garrison personally leads a number of these projects and has served as a guide and mentor to more than hundreds of students.

Ellen Doskey
Girls On the Run | Houma

Ellen Doskey has been an assistant district attorney in Terrebonne Parish since 1997. She is the sole attorney in the office who handles Child in Need of Care cases. Through this work, she has always remained focused on what is in the best interest of the child while having empathy for parents who struggle with metal health, including drug addiction. It was this empathy which inspired her to create the first Family Preservation Court in Terrebonne Parish.

In addition to her duties as an ADA, Doskey has served as a founding board member and 10 years as board president of Girls on The Run of the Bayou Region. This after school program for girls ages 8-13 provides mentorship and life lessons through a program which creatively integrates running and physical activity.

Doskey managed this program through the COVID pandemic, which prevented the program from being held in schools, and through the devastation of Hurricane Ida, which forced the "comeback" year to be delayed another season. Despite the three years of cancellations and set-backs, Ellen never gave up on the program, and has helped it rebuild and impact the lives of nearly 4,000 young women.

Dr. Murelle G. Harrison
The Gardere Initiative | Baton Rouge

Dr. Murelle Harrison is the founder and executive director of The Gardere Initiative, which has supported that community in every conceivable way since 2006. Since Hurricane Katrina, the Gardere community has endured high rates of crime and violence and sits far below the poverty line.

The Initiative provides health services, after-school education, access to food, and works to transform public spaces to provide safe play for the children of Gardere, who are mostly Black and Latino, many speaking English as a second language. Over the years, Dr. Harrison has worked tirelessly and has taken minimal compensation.

By building a coalition of actors that includes a number of past Angel honoree organizations, she is hoping to shake the stigma surrounding the Gardere community and is determined to open pathways for a generation of children who have grown up within its borders.

Melanie Bronfin
Policy Institute for Children | New Orleans

Melanie Bronfin has distinguished herself as one of Louisiana's most fervent advocates for young children. An attorney by trade, Melanie has helped to author and pass some of the most impactful public policy legislation in our state's history.

Seeing the tragic lack of a statewide voice for vulnerable infants and toddlers, Bronfin founded the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children in 2013 and served as its Executive Director for its first five years. Since its inception, LPIC has become Louisiana's leading independent source of data, research, and public policy proposals on issues related to young children and their families who are at-risk.

Bronfin’s work in guiding policy in education, housing, health, and more has impacted the lives of nearly every child in Louisiana.

Penny Smith and Melva Villard
LSUA Spero Program | Alexandria

Penny Smith and Melva Villard are tireless advocates for children with developmental and intellection disabilities, including their own children, who are young women of college age. Their enthusiastic intervention and persistence have led to the development of LSUA’s SPERO program.

SPERO (which is Latin for “hope”) is the first of its kind above the I-10 corridor to offer a 4-year college experience for young people who would otherwise be ineligible for college admission. Young people are integrated into a full campus experience to audit classes, develop professional interests, and receive career readiness and life skills training that will help them live more independent and fulfilling adult lives.

Smith and Villard are key members of the steering committee and have been galvanizing forces in developing the program, winning support at every level (including from Gov. Jon Bel Edwards) and raising funds to get it started. SPERO welcomed its first class of students in 2021 and is growing rapidly.

To see videos and learn more about our 2023 Angel Award honorees, visit www.AngelAwardLA.com

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Mahatma Gandhi