$100,000 Grant Will Fund the Comprehensive Wellness Initiative

Portland, OR — Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon has named Friends of the Children a new Community Partner Organization (CPO). The partnership was announced at the Friends of the Children’s annual Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser on February 23, for which Regence was the presenting sponsor.

In 2013 Friends of the Children is celebrating its 20th anniversary.  As part of this CPO partnership, Regence BlueCross BlueShield will also be recognized as Friends of the Children’s 20th Anniversary Sponsor at events throughout the year, including the annual Friend Raiser, one of the largest and best-attended auctions in Portland.

Through the Regence CPO program, Friends of the Children will receive $100,000 to help the organization achieve game-changing improvements in the way staff and program youth approach wellness. The grant will fund the Comprehensive Wellness Initiative to engage and create incentives for staff and program youth to take positive, attainable steps toward better physical health, nutrition, and mental and emotional well-being.

“As role models to over 400 children and adolescents, our Friends impact children’s lives through not only direct social, emotional, and academic support, but also intentional modeling of health choices,” said Terri Sorensen, President of Friends of the Children. “Friends, in turn, need a community of support to adopt and sustain healthy habits for themselves as well as access to creative, engaging ways to motivate program youth to do the same. This partnership with Regence will provide the much needed human and financial resources to create this community of support.”

In addition to the significant financial investment by Regence, employee volunteerism is another important component of the partnership. “We at Regence envision a highly collaborative partnership in which volunteers with expertise in health assessment, nutrition, and culturally appropriate support for a healthy lifestyle would help Friends of the Children staff design and implement motivational events and provide ongoing support,” said Peggy Maguire, Senior Vice President, Corporate Accountability and Chief of Staff.

To implement this initiative, Friends of the Children staff and youth will participate in health assessments, specialty classes, and events to practice healthy activities and integrate healthy choices into their everyday lives.  Friends of the Children staff have already begun plans for running and walking clubs, recreational teams, nutrition education classes, and stress reduction workshops.

About Friends of the Children

Friends of the Children is a revolutionary mentoring program that is transforming the lives of our most vulnerable children.  Founded by Portland native Duncan Campbell, Friends of the Children makes a 12 ½ year commitment to each child, selecting them in kindergarten, matching them with paid, professional mentors (called Friends) and guiding them through high school graduation.

About Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon is a leading health plan in Oregon, with nearly 750,000 members, offering health, life and dental insurance. Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and is affiliated with Regence BlueShield of Idaho, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield (selected counties in Washington). Together, the companies serve more than two million members in the Northwest/Intermountain Region. The Regence affiliated companies are committed to improving the health of its members and communities, and to transforming the health care system. For more information, please visit www.regence.com or www.twitter.com/RegenceOregon.