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Local Nonprofits Struggle with Cuts in Grant Funding; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Responds

August 28, 2012

Austin, TEXAS – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) is responding to an urgent "call to action" from United Way for Greater Austin (UWATX) and challenges other corporate citizens to do the same. In July, UWATX announced that it had to cut grant funding for a number of the local nonprofits it had supported in prior. When UWATX had to make cuts to their grants due to fundraising shortfalls they immediately put out a call-to-action to the community to increase giving to pre-recession levels.

"The UWATX Board and staff were personally devastated that these cuts were necessary, and felt compelled to do all they could to help the affected agencies. They asked themselves: 'What can we do?'" said Debbie Bresette, president of UWATX. "Several board members and staff made personal donations and others organized fundraisers. We also reached out to a great corporate citizen, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and asked them to respond to the call-to-action. And respond they did."

Because of its mission to improve wellness within its communities, BCBSTX has pledged $100,000 to help five local charitable organizations that support the health of children and senior citizens.

  • Any Baby Can - $20,000 (Helping the "youngest, sickest, poorest children and their families through education, therapy and family support services.")
  • Austin Groups for the Elderly - $20,000 ("Committed to providing resources for our growing number of local seniors, adults with disabilities and those who care for them.")
  • Meals on Wheels and More - $20,000 (Seeking "to nourish and enrich the lives of the homebound and other people in need through programs that promote dignity and independent living.")
  • People's Community Clinic - $20,000 (Improving "the health of medically underserved and uninsured Central Texans by providing high quality, affordable healthcare.")
  • Safeplace - $20,000 ("Provides safety for individuals and families affected by sexual and domestic violence.")

"We work for a customer-owned company and we understand the commitment that nonprofits make to the people they serve," said Bert Marshall, president of BCBSTX. "Helping others has been part of our DNA for seven decades and we're not going to let our neighbors down. Now we'd like to challenge our corporate neighbors to step up as well. Let's thank the people of Austin for the privilege to do business in this great city."

BCBSTX supports and implements programs every year that help improve the health and wellness of its communities. For example, its "Healthy Kids, Healthy Families" initiative aims to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of children through nutrition education, promoting physical activity, preventing and managing disease as well as supporting safe environments. In addition, its public service website, www.BeSmartBeWell.com , provides prevention and management tips for many controversial health issues.

"Both United Way for Greater Austin and the people of Austin are extremely grateful to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas for stepping up to the plate once again," said Ben Bentzin, UWATX Board Member. "Blue Cross has always supported our community, but it takes a real member of the family to go that extra mile when times get tough. I encourage all Austinites to find one of Blue Cross's 4.8 million members and thank them for being part of such a great organization."

About United Way for Greater Austin

United Way for Greater Austin (UWATX) inspires, leads, and unites an eclectic community of philanthropists including individuals, nonprofits, business and government to overcome barriers to economic opportunities and ensure Greater Austin continues to thrive. UWATX's work is research-based and results-driven, and resources are invested so that everyone has access to the promise of Austin.

Media Contacts

United Way for Greater Austin:
Heather Beckel Luecke
512-468-3990 Heather.beckel@uwatx.org

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas:
Ross Blackstone
972-766-1735 Ross_Blackstone@BCBSTX.com