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Looking Back: How We Supported our Communities in 2020

Throughout our Company’s 89-year history, we have committed to not only serve our members and other customers, but to support the communities where we live and work. Never has this been more important than in 2020, as New Jerseyans faced many challenges due to COVID-19. Throughout the year, we were committed to helping our members, communities and local businesses get through difficult times, as well as focusing on health programs throughout New Jersey.

Answering the call

As the COVID-19 virus began to spread throughout New Jersey in March, health care workers faced severe shortages of personal protective equipment, which put their own health at risk as they cared for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. To help them stay safe, we invested $2.35 million to purchase and donate 500,000 N95 respirator masks and 81,000 face shields as part of Governor Murphy’s state-wide response. We also donated $2 million to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, established by New Jersey’s First Lady, Tammy Murphy. This fund supports hundreds of nonprofit organizations around the state to quickly address basic medical, social and economic needs that resulted from COVID-19. In northern New Jersey, we also worked with local restaurants to provide 1,300 free meals to New Jersey’s frontline heroes, including health care professionals, police officers and fire fighters.

Employees making a difference

Our community involvement would not be possible without the commitment of our more than 5,600 employees.

We’re very proud that more than 70 of our employees, who are health care professionals, answered the Governor’s call to serve on the frontlines. To support employees with medical training who wished to serve, Horizon BCBSNJ expanded the typical eight hours of paid time off for volunteer service to provide those employees answering the call with 40 hours of compensated volunteer time.

In addition, two of our doctors also helped the New Jersey Department of Health examine the impact of COVID-19 on maternal-child health and minority populations.

Horizon Cares, our employee volunteer program, helps employees make a difference where they live and work. In 2020, more than 130 employees volunteered in-person in communities throughout our state, logging over 2,800 hours of service in support of charitable organizations.

Our employees:

  • Prepared more than 100,000 meals for the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), a vital nonprofit that addressed food insecurity with a grant award from The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey (The Foundation), Horizon BCBSNJ’s philanthropic arm, to help support its recovery efforts.
  • Packed over 600 emergency food boxes and prepared dry goods for residents of public housing and senior homes throughout the state.
  • Retro-fitted school spaces for socially distanced learning.

Support through philanthropy

Horizon BCBSNJ wasn’t only there for New Jersey residents but for the non-profit organizations whom they turned to for support. The Foundation addressed the pandemic’s many challenges and growing needs in communities throughout the state.

The Foundation had to pivot and create a COVID-19 action plan, prioritizing several areas in this critical time, including emergency food distribution, shelters and short-term housing, mental health services, health care and medical services, and childcare services. Through data collection and listening to our non-profit partners, we responded with increased collaboration, flexibility and funding to support both short- and long-term COVID-19 recovery efforts.

The Foundation awarded 86 grants totaling nearly $2.9 million, including more than $816,000 of resources and grants for immediate COVID-19 relief efforts. The Foundation’s Matching Gifts program also provided an additional $595,000 in employee gift matches to hundreds of nonprofits.

In addition to our efforts through The Foundation, Horizon BCBSNJ’s Community Affairs activities sponsored 71 community-based organizations and programs last year totaling more than $1.05 million.

“We know that supporting the community and our members is making a valuable difference and having a positive impact, and as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact New Jersey, we will continue to work closely with our community partners to address the changing needs throughout the recovery,” said Jonathan R. Pearson, Horizon BCBSNJ’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and the Executive Director of The Foundation.

Throughout our long history, we’ve been here when our customers and communities have needed us most. And we will continue to provide the coverage and services our customers count on, as well as philanthropic support in the communities we serve, now and always.