Florida Blue and United Way Suncoast: Partners in Helping our Communities!
Florida Blue and United Way Suncoast have partnered together for more than 24 years to provide help and hope to our communities. Here on the Suncoast, Florida Blue has been among our Top 10 Most Generous Workplaces for the last four years. In fact, Florida Blue has donated nearly $1.5M to United Way Suncoast.
In addition to the annual workplace campaign, Florida Blue has provided a variety of sponsorships and grants over the years including for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households, the Operation Graduate program at the North Greenwood Resource Center, Summer Care students and Early Learning Initiatives. Last year’s total raised included a $75K COVID-19 grant and $30K for financial stability work at the Sulphur Springs Resource Center.
We cannot thank YOU – the Florida Blue employees, enough! Your generous and heartfelt giving through your annual workplace campaign funds programs that help children and adults rise up and reach their full potential. These programs have proven even more vital over the last year as so many have grappled with the financial and educational impacts of COVID-19. Programs like:
- Early Learning – we have a variety of programs designed to ensure children are reading on grade-level by the end of 3rd grade. Why is this important? Studies show that children who aren’t reading on grade level by the time they start 4th grade are four times more likely not to graduate high school. From Reading All-Stars to Summer Care to The Big Plan, we are supporting the educational needs of our children.
- Resource Centers – located in Campbell Park (St. Petersburg), North Greenwood (Clearwater) and Sulphur Springs (Tampa) our resource centers help adults reach a more financially stable future for themselves and their families by providing GED classes, job training, help with resumes and interviewing skills, computer access and more. North Greenwood is also home to the Operation Graduate program, a partnership between United Way Suncoast, Pinellas County Schools, the Clearwater Police Department and St. Petersburg College to promote on-time high school graduation and prepare students for college or career. Over the last year, the Resource Centers have partnered with other non-profits to provide weekly food distributions, along with Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, book and toy drops and more.
- VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) – our VITA program provides one-on-one and online tax prep assistance to thousands of lower income households, ensuring they receive their maximum refunds. The refunds, along with fees saved from paying for tax prep, go back into the community to pay for housing, childcare and debt, among other things. Despite COVID-19 shutdowns, 2020 saw over 9,100 returns completed at United Way VITA sites, leading to $12M in total refunds, $6M in credits earned and $1.8M in saved tax prep fees.
- 2-1-1 – a strategic community partner of United Way Suncoast, 211 provides assistance to individuals in crisis including help with housing, food access, utilities and mental health issues. United Way has increased its investment in 211 due to the overwhelming number of callers needing assistance since the pandemic began.
- And so much more
But, Florida Blue employees go far beyond donations in giving back to the communities in which you live and work. Volunteers are vital to our work in the community; for the last three years, you’ve joined in Day of Caring (now Week of Caring), an all out service blitz to help nonprofits across our region with tasks they couldn’t otherwise complete including painting, landscaping and maintenance. A total of 85 employees have served more than 250 volunteer hours. Additionally, employees serve on our Board of Directors and participate in our Leadership Societies. This fall, employees will assemble literacy kits for area students.
Our sincerest gratitude goes out to all of you who go above and beyond to make our community a better place for all. We are proud to partner with you. Thank you to all our existing United Way Suncoast donors. And, if you haven’t donated before, we hope this small glimpse into the work that you fund will inspire you to join all the wonderful Florida Blue employees who give back through their paycheck. Watch your inbox for your opportunity to make your donation during this year’s campaign.