Involved in your community
As an Alberta-based and community-minded organization, Alberta Blue Cross is passionate about making a genuine difference in communities across our province. We live in the communities we serve, and we serve in the communities in which we live.
Our long-standing commitment to community involvement is a credit to the spirit of giving, generosity and voluntarism of our employees. While as a not-for-profit organization we have limited funds to invest, we are highly engaged in supporting our communities—both financially and through volunteering.
Although our approach doesn’t get Alberta Blue Cross the level of recognition that paying to have our name put on a building or banner would bring, it ensures that the support we provide is put to use for the good of Albertans and is spread across a wide range of organizations throughout the province.
There are three key components to our community involvement activities:
We play an active role in leading and supporting province-wide health and wellness projects and initiatives. This is facilitated through both our contributions of time and expertise to these initiatives, and through financial support provided through the ABC Benefits Corporation Foundation. These involvements range from vision health awareness and cell phone free driving to tobacco reduction and injury prevention campaigns.
- Our Scholarship program provides extensive support to assist young Albertans pursuing post-secondary studies across the province. The program supports 65 scholarships awarded each year to Albertans entering full-time post-secondary study in Alberta—with scholarships available at every accredited post-secondary institution across the province. Since its inception, this program has provided more than $1 million to Alberta students.
- We provide broad-based support to charitable community based organizations and activities across the province at a grassroots level through both our charitable foundation and our employee-led Hearts of Blue charity.
A look at some of our involvement...
Alberta Blue Cross is please to support dozens of worthy causes across the province. Here’s a quick look at some of our recent activities.
Alberta Summer and Winter Games – The Alberta Summer and Winter games attract thousands of athletes from across the province to participate in various events. We are pleased to sponsor these games in the interest of supporting health and promoting active living.
Apple magazine – Alberta Blue Cross is a founding sponsor of Alberta Health Services' provincial health and wellness magazine, Apple. This initiative supports the dissemination of information that encourages Albertans to lead healthy lifestyles. Apple is accessible online and 120,000 copies of this magazine are distributed across the province.
Arthritis Society Alberta division – Did you know that arthritis is now the most common cause of disability in Canada? With the number of Albertans living with arthritis growing rapidly and arthritis-related costs to our health-care system increasing dramatically, Alberta Blue Cross is partnering with the Arthritis Society Alberta division to sponsor community education forums across the province. As part of our commitment, we were proud to present Psoriatic Arthritis and Psoriasis: Know your options, a free public forum held in Edmonton in 2015.
Canadian Red Cross – The Fort McMurray wildfires that displaced tens of thousands of Albertans in May 2016 affected us deeply at Alberta Blue Cross. As an Alberta-based organization, many of us have friends, neighbours, family members and colleagues who were directly affected. As a show of support to the residents of Fort McMurray, Alberta Blue Cross made donations exceeding $62,000 to the Canadian Red Cross in support of Fort McMurray wildfire relief efforts. This donation was the combination of a corporate donation supplemented by fundraising by our employees that was matched through the ABC Benefits Corporation Foundation.
Canadian Obesity Network – Obesity is a chronic disease that affects about one million Albertans—more than 25 per cent of the province's population. It is the most pervasive, progressive and serious of chronic diseases facing our province, and is linked to 22 other chronic diseases. In the recognition that obesity is a key health issue facing Albertans, Alberta Blue Cross has entered a partnership to address this important health issue. Alberta Blue Cross is the first benefit carrier in Canada to join this network.
The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada – Every year, The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada arranges trips for families in Alberta and across the country. During these wish trips, Alberta Blue Cross provides premium-free travel coverage for terminally ill children and their families thanks to an initiative shared by all the Blue Cross plans across Canada. To date, we’ve helped over 1,000 children realize their wishes.
CNIB Alberta – Alberta Blue Cross is pleased to work with CNIB Alberta to raise awareness and provide information about age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss among Albertans. Campaigns we have sponsored have included public information sessions held in Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary and Lethbridge.
Diabetes Canada – Currently, more than 205,000 people are living with diabetes in Alberta. That’s about one in every 20 people—making it a serious and growing health concern. For this reason, we have sponsored a number of Canadian Diabetes Expos in recent years in Edmonton and Calgary. These large-scale events provide opportunities for Albertans to learn about self-management for adults living with diabetes.
Finding Balance – Alberta Blue Cross continues to be a sponsor of the Alberta Finding Balance campaign. Created by the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research and the Alberta Medical Association, this initiative is an education program designed to raise awareness about seniors’ falls in Alberta and to provide seniors with tips for fall prevention.
Gift of Play – According to ParticipACTION’s 2016 Report Card of Physical Activity for Children and Youth in Canada, less than 10 per cent of children between five and 17 years old meet the recommended 60 daily minutes of moderate to vigorous activity levels—the minimum amount needed to experience positive health benefits.
As a response to this report, the Be Fit for Life Network—a provincial initiative comprising nine regional centres working to support a more physically active Alberta—and the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Kinesiology piloted a new program in fall 2016 called Gift of Play. This program draws on research suggesting innovative approaches to help increase activity levels in children—the use of painted lines on playground tarmac surfaces is one effective and low-cost example. Gift of Play includes a resource guide of games and activities to go with stencils that are painted on playground surfaces to promote play in school yards and community spaces. This program was a huge success during its pilot phase and there is now interest in expanding it across the province.
Alberta Blue Cross is very pleased to announce that we have recently become title sponsor of the Gift of Play program. Through funding from the ABC Benefits Corporation Foundation, we are excited to play a key role in facilitating the extension of this program to 140 schools across Alberta.
Heart and Stroke Foundation – Every spring, Alberta Blue Cross employees support the Heart and Stroke Foundation by participating in the Big Bike fundraiser. Thirty-four employees spend the months of April and May collecting pledges for the opportunity to ride the Big Bike through downtown Edmonton. This fundraiser is also an Edmonton Corporate Challenge event—with first prize going to the company that raises the most money. In 2016, the Alberta Blue Cross team raised more than $12,000.
MS Society of Canada – We are pleased to be an ongoing sponsor of the annual Alberta MS Connections Conference.
Partners For Life – Alberta Blue Cross is a long-time supporter of Canadian Blood Services and joined the Partners for Life program in 2012 to signify our commitment. Employees are encouraged to donate regularly by signing up for convenient noon-hour shuttles. In 2016, we made 205 blood donations.
Prescription to Get Active – Alberta Blue Cross is also pleased to sponsor the Prescription to Get Active program, through which Primary Care Networks across Alberta have partnered with local municipal recreation facilities in a unique venture where local family physicians and health-care teams can prescribe physical activity to patients who would benefit from increased activity. Currently, 25 of 42 Primary Care Networks are participating, comprising more than 2,800 physicians and more than 140 fitness and recreation facilities across Alberta.
Preventable – Alberta Blue Cross is pleased to sponsor the Preventable injury prevention campaign in Alberta and to support the Community Against Preventable Injuries. Preventable injuries are a leading cause of death and disability in Alberta—resulting in more than four injury deaths per day in the province. Preventable aims to raise awareness of preventable injuries and to get people thinking about the attitudes that directly lead to injuries. Alberta Blue Cross is committed to helping raise awareness of preventable injuries among Albertans.
STARS – Every day, the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) provides a truly critical service to Albertans—bringing life-saving air rescue transportation to Albertans in urgent medical emergencies. Alberta Blue Cross is pleased to support STARS through a “Fund a Flight” sponsorship through which we have committed to funding one flight per year for the next three years. STARS flies over 1,500 missions per year to approximately 240 communities across Alberta from its bases in Calgary, Edmonton and Grande Prairie.
Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation – Our Alberta Blue Cross rowing team raised more than $14,000 in the 10th annual Row for Kids event. Proceeds support the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and Edmonton Rowing Club programs. In total, the event raised more than $180,000. We also received a special award as Alberta Blue Cross has been participating in the Row for Kids fundraiser since the event began ten years ago, and is the only organization still participating from when the event started.
United Way – Alberta Blue Cross is a proud supporter of the United Way. Each year, we sponsor an employee campaign to raise money for this organization that supports agencies in the communities we serve. Through employee donations, matched by corporate dollars, we have raised more than $2 million as an organization in the past 25 years.
Winter Walk Day – As a sponsor of Winter Walk Day, Alberta Blue Cross challenges Albertans to bundle up, step outside and participate in a province-wide initiative to get Albertans up and moving during the winter months. In 2017, more than 400 Alberta Blue Cross employees braved the frigid temperatures for an invigorating walk to the Legislative Grounds where they posed for a group picture.
Youth Run Club – Alberta Blue Cross is proud to sponsor the Alberta Medical Association's AMA Youth Run Club, a free, school-based running program designed to get children and youth active and help them embrace healthier lives. Over the course of three years, Alberta Blue Cross is providing an annual $25,000 sponsorship—as well as $5,000 per year for ten prize draws of $500 each—to purchase sports equipment or fund other activity-related infrastructure costs for participating schools. Funding for the sponsorship comes from the ABC Benefits Corporation Foundation. In 2016, more than 18,000 students in 370 schools across 112 Alberta communities participated in the program.
Alberta Blue Cross has a close working relationship with the Alberta Medical Association and Alberta physicians, and we are excited to extend this relationship into working together on this excellent program. With its focus on encouraging and educating children and youth on the importance of regular physical activity and good nutrition as the foundations for a lifetime of physical and mental health, the Youth Run Club has a great alignment with Alberta Blue Cross's wellness promotion activities.
Other organizations we've supported over the last year include:
|Alberta food banks||Calgary Health Trust||Canadian Blood Services||Canadian Hard of Hearing Association|
|Canadian Mental Health Association||Canadian Red Cross||CASA||Christmas Bureau of Edmonton|
|CURE Foundation||Cystic Fibrosis Canada—Edmonton & Northern Alberta||Easter Seals||Edmonton School Lunch|
|Glenrose Foundation||Heart and Stroke Foundation||Kidsport Canada||Lethbridge Association for Community Living|
|Lois Hole Hospital for Women||Meals on Wheels||Mental Health Foundation||MS Society of Canada|
|Operation Friendship Society||Ronald McDonald House||Santas Anonymous||Second Chance Animal Rescue Society|
|Sign of Hope Campaign||St. Michaels Health Centre Foundation||Stollery Children’s Hospital||University Hospital Foundation|