Whether it’s volunteering in hospitals, making masks, mentoring youth or writing cards to isolated seniors, our associates have demonstrated how to extend a helping hand to communities and neighbors who are counting on us. Compelled to act, they logged nearly 110,000 hours of community service in 2020 and generated $9.8 million through community engagement programs, including our associate match.
COVID-19 fueled an unprecedented need for support in hospitals and clinics across the country. With Anthem’s tradition of providing such critical support to our consumers and provider partners, we established the Anthem Medical Associate Volunteer Program for associates with professional medical training to volunteer in their local community.
Meaghan Bryant was one of those Anthem volunteers. “When patients arrived at our hospital, we knew them – they were neighbors, friends, and former classmates,” she explained.
If we realized anything in the past year, it is how precious life is. From the touch of a hand to a simple laugh, Anthem associates saw the need for connection and took action.
Over 150 associates from seven markets reached out to more than 3,000 members who were living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and behavioral health centers. Across the East Coast, associates developed a “Caring Card Project” – simply sending caring notes to those who were alone.
After creating a few cards herself, one of these dedicated associates, Sarah Padraza from Buford, Georgia, enlisted her children to help. “They were onboard immediately,” she said. “We sat around the dining room table and got to work. It was fun but also humbling,” Sarah noted.
During our time together, I explained to my children how important it is to find a place to work that shares your values and upholds your beliefs – as Anthem does. It’s about staying grounded and giving back because we’re all the same, we’re all part of the community together.
Another Anthem associate making a world of difference is Terry Moss, based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Terry coordinates Anthem sponsorships and engagements with local nonprofit and community organizations such as 100 Black Men of America, which seeks to improve the quality of life and educational opportunities for Black children and teens. In 2020, Anthem’s partnership with 100 Black Men impacted over 6,000 individuals – from coordinating food distribution events to sponsoring educational and mentorship programs to providing thousands of masks to help people stay safe during the pandemic.
After spending time with the group, Terry realized the impact he could make on a personal level by becoming a volunteer mentor for 14-to-17-year-olds.
“Many Black children grow up thinking they’ll never be able to live the life they want – a reality that was highlighted during the social unrest this past summer,” Terry said. “The biggest thing about mentoring is the unseen reward – the look on an adolescent’s face when the green light goes on, because they’ve worked through a problem and found a solution on their own. I tell them, if you’re looking for a hero, stand up tall and look in the mirror.”
Cameron, a 17-year-old from Las Vegas, met Terry in early 2020. Through trust and the ability to see his potential with no judgment, Terry taught Cameron how to iron his clothes, which eventually fostered self-confidence, better grades in school, and even an application to college. “Terry’s support has been transformational for me,” Cameron said. “I can now see new possibilities for my future – and maybe I’ll end up like him one day.”
Our commitment to the community is expressed not only by the dedication of our associates, but the charitable giving of our Foundation. In 2020, the Foundation pledged $50 million to COVID-19 response efforts that provided direct assistance to individuals and families in need of food, housing, transportation, and mental health services.
This pledge included $2 million to local Boys and Girls Clubs to help distribute meals to children and families who rely on school and Club meals, as well as virtual programming to improve the physical and mental health of young people during this time. We also supported the distribution of 38 million units of lifesaving Personal Protective Equipment to help safeguard frontline healthcare workers, and we provided emergency relief funding for the most vulnerable populations through Americares and Direct Relief.
Anthem’s legacy of community partnership and aid is as old as our organization, and it continues to evolve to meet changing needs.