People around the country watched the economic downfall and bankruptcy trial of Detroit and assumed the city was down for the count. But they underestimated the spirit of the people and companies that call Detroit home. If there is a silver lining to the financial woes of the city, it’s the way that community business leaders and citizens came together to save their beloved city. Three years ago, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan took action to help spark Detroit’s revitalization by moving 3,000 employees to a unified downtown campus. The move doubled the amount of BCBSM’s employees working in the city and supported the vision of the president and CEO of BCBSM, Daniel J. Loepp. “I see Detroit’s return to prosperity and the transformation of our city into a place that serves as a magnet to businesses from across the country and around the world, a place that beckons talented professionals looking for the right place to launch and sustain their careers,” he says. “They will come to Detroit because they will see the city as we see it – as a great place.” Here are some other ways BCBSM shows its love for the D:
- Creating a healthier city: Since 2009, BCBSM has run a Healthy Communities program, helping over 100,000 elementary and middle school students in 275 schools across Metro Detroit learn to make healthier food choices and be more physically active.
- Helping students start the day right: It’s been shown that students who eat breakfast every morning have higher test scores and are more attentive in class. Knowing this, BCBSM has partnered with the Dairy Industry of Michigan and other Michigan health departments to award grants to 107 schools and help more than 53,000 students start the day with a healthy meal.
- Encouraging the Live Downtown movement: Live Downtown is a program to increase the number of people who call downtown Detroit home. To help those efforts, BCBSM collaborated with the City of Detroit, the Downtown Development Authority and the Downtown Detroit Partnership to install more than 1,000 LED street lights in key areas of downtown Detroit. The result: a more comfortable and safer environment for everyone.
- Organizing city-wide events: BCBSM partnered with major businesses downtown to launch the Live Downtown Games. Over the course of five days, employees from BCBSM and other companies competed in various fun events that encouraged being physically active, united companies and served as an example of what can be accomplished with cooperation.
- Investing in Detroit’s museums: BCBSM helped save the historic works of art in the Detroit Institute of Arts. When the artwork was on its way to being sold, BCBSM teamed up with other top companies in Detroit to help keep the masterpieces in the museum. Of the $26 million that was ultimately raised, BCBSM contributed $2.6 million.