As a home-grown company for nearly 80 years, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is proud of its history of supporting our state’s communities and residents. That’s because we know that our members and residents thrive when their communities are healthy and vibrant. Guided by our long-standing social mission, we believe that one of the reasons we exist as a business is to improve the lives of people everywhere in Michigan. That’s why I’m proud our company today joined other corporate partners by contributing $5 million to support inclusive neighborhood development in the City of Detroit. The historic $35 million investment will fund improvements in designated areas and support affordable housing citywide, following a community engagement process that will reflect the unique needs of each community and their residents. Our contribution to this initiative is just one of the many ways we support Michigan communities, including through hundreds of programs and partnerships that touch lives in every age group and in every corner of our state. Last year alone, we invested nearly $92 million to support community-based, health-related programs and services in cities and towns throughout Michigan. And Blue Cross has contributed $355 million of a $1.56 billion commitment to the Health Endowment Fund, which is devoted to improving the health of Michigan residents and reducing the cost of health care, particularly for children and seniors. We’ve also been a strong supporter of Detroit, which isn’t just the place where we’re headquartered, but is the hometown of many of our members, employees and their families, including me. I grew up in Detroit, attended college here, came home to Detroit for holidays with my family, and now I run a business that is headquartered here. Thousands of our employees call the city and region home. As a nonprofit that serves the broader communities of Michigan, Detroit is constantly on our minds and always close to our hearts. I’m proud we were one of the first large companies engaged in the city’s economic redevelopment when we doubled our workforce in the city in 2012, bringing 3,000 more of our southeast Michigan employees to the central business district. Along with other organizations, we supported the Live Downtown program and helped fund EMS vehicles and patrol cars to strengthen public safety. We’ve also contributed to many wellness initiatives in partnership with the faith-based community. And while our work to improve communities is simply the right thing to do, these programs and services are aligned with Blue Cross’ business priorities to increase access to quality, affordable health care and improve health. Simply put, healthy communities benefit everyone and contribute to lower health care costs by helping to ensure that more members and residents seek care at the right time in the right place when they need it. Today’s announcement works toward that goal. And while we know there’s much more work to be done, Blue Cross remains committed to doing our part – and partnering with others - to make our cities, region and state healthy and strong, starting with our communities and neighborhoods. Photo credit: KiskaMedia
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