Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) exceeded its annual United Way of the Midlands (UWM) fundraising campaign goal of $350,000 by raising $373,357.

UWM is a local charitable organization dedicated to helping the most vulnerable work toward independence through programs fostering basic needs, education and financial stability. For over 30 years, BCBSNE’s annual fundraising campaign has engaged employees in an array of activities to raise funds for the nonprofit.

This is the second year BCBSNE has hosted a virtual fundraiser benefiting UWM. With most employees continuing to work remotely, Team Blue had to get creative and brainstorm fun, engaging ways to rally employees and raise funds for the organization.

“Our success in this year’s United Way campaign is just one more reason why I am so proud to be Blue,” said Kim Arnold, BCBSNE marketing and communications vice president and 2021 campaign co-chair. “We pull together as a team—whether we are physically together or not.”

The fundraiser kicked off with a variety of online sales.

The first was a sweet collaboration with the local small business, Omaha Bakery. Employees had the chance to place an order from a specially-curated menu of freshly baked goods. From frosted sugar cookies to plain jane brownies, supporting the community never tasted so delicious!

Employees and their families had the opportunity to burn off the sweet treats and break a sweat by participating in a virtual 5K run/walk or 1-mile walk. Racers and walkers completed the distance and submitted their time to be entered in a prize raffle.

In addition, employees had the chance to grow their skillset by purchasing classes from expert instructors.

“This year was another chance to get creative in fundraising for United Way,” said Desiree Adams, reimbursement analyst at BCBSNE and campaign event co-lead. “We were really excited to be able to feature our colleagues and even family members as contributing instructors. The topics included: the power of storytelling, meal prepping for success, how to BBQ like a boss, sewing 101 and how to master the art of mixology.”

Another virtual fundraising event included a kids coloring contest, where employees were encouraged to submit artwork from the many talented young artists in their lives. Employees then had the chance to  vote for their favorites to be featured on the InBlue homepage, BCBSNE’s internal communication site for employees, in 2022.

The fundraiser closed with the annual trivia challenge hosted by BCBSNE’s Young Professionals (YP) Connect employee resource group.

Employees formed teams of six and put their knowledge to use in a round of trivia.

“It was a fun time with many teams from across the organization,” said Rebekka Erks Bryne, organizational development consultant at BCBSNE and campaign event co-lead. “The trivia hosts Jamie Heimann and Tom Kocanda did a great job of keeping the game fun and competitive spirits high. Although there could only be one winner, every participant should feel good that they contributed to the United Way!”

This was one of the many events that contributed to the fundraiser’s success.

“I’d like to extend a special thanks to all employees for their generosity and hard work on this year’s United Way campaign,” said BCBSNE Chief Information Officer and 2021 Campaign Co-Chair Rama Kolli. “I’m so proud to work for an organization that is dedicated to building up the community.”

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