At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska, (BCBSNE) October kicks off the annual United Way fundraising campaign. Festivities, food and fun abound, but giving back to the community stays top of mind through it all.

For more than 30 years, BCBSNE has raised funds for United Way of the Midlands, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the educational, financial and health needs of the community. BCBSNE shares a similar mission and raises funds for the nonprofit each year during the company’s annual campaign.

The company raises funds for United Way as a whole, but individual employees have different reasons for contributing to the cause and for participating in various fundraising activities.

One fundraising activity was a silent auction held at Blue Cross Centre (BCC). At this event, employees put together and placed bids on auction baskets.

When Samantha Nath, a training and documentation specialist, picked up the adult coloring book basket she’d won, she laughed and said, “people were talking about the silent auction in every meeting I was in today. They wanted to buy something, even if they didn’t need it.”

Nath’s basket included coloring books, puzzles, a bottle of wine, wine glasses and colored pencils.

She participated in other United Way events this year, including Day of Caring and the BCBSNE Technicolor walk/5K run. Nath thinks the activities “are a great way to help the community.”

On a sweet note, employees had the opportunity to purchase and send candy and popcorn filled boo baskets to one another throughout BCBSNE’s United Way campaign. Baskets were available at different price points and included a healthy option.

“It’s a great organization,” Susan Shea, a subrogation specialist, said of United Way while picking up her boo basket. “We should all contribute.”

The Halloween-themed United Way fun continued with the haunted places contest. Two departments, claims and customer service, gave BCC conference rooms a spooky makeover in a bid to win bragging rights and a trophy for the year.

Laura Borello, a customer service quality coordinator, has participated in the contest the last four years. Borello enjoys the creativity and team building aspects of haunted places.

“It is amazing to work for a company that allows you to be creative and participate in events to raise money to help those in need in our community,” she said. “We in customer service love to get creative and have fun.”

Putting the “fun” in fundraising, BCBSNE added lip sync battles to the United Way line up. Employees had the opportunity to pay to vote for their favorite contestants. Even though Chief Information Officer Rama Kolli’s team didn’t win, he still enjoyed the experience.

“My favorite part was watching everyone really get into it and out of their comfort zones to have fun for a cause,” Kolli said. “It was awesome to see the creativity teams had across the company.”

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