Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) recently wrapped up its 2023 United Way of the Midlands (UWM) Campaign with 606 employees participating to raise $389,689.

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 year, to celebrate all the ways employees can support UWM, BCBSNE introduced a new goal format. Instead of a monetary goal, the company aimed for 50% employee participation through pledging funds, participating in fundraising events and volunteering.

“There are so many ways we can show up for the community, and we wanted to highlight that this year,” said Kerry Kremke, vice president of risk management, information security and privacy and 2023 campaign co-chair. “To aid in that effort, we introduced a volunteer option this year, and it was a resounding success.”

BCBSNE partnered with UWM to offer a volunteer opportunity for employees on Wednesday, Oct. 25. Throughout the day, 150 employees packaged 1,500 hygiene kits for One World Community Health Centers, an organization that UWM supports.

Employees could also volunteer on their own for an organization of their choosing.

In addition to volunteering, BCBSNE offered a hybrid campaign where employees could participate in a selection of in-person and virtual fundraising events, allowing all employees to participate.

“Bringing back the hybrid campaign is a celebration of how no matter where we are located, Team Blue comes together to rally behind our community,” said Kremke.

BCBSNE employees had a chance to participate in three virtual fundraising events: Rocket Carwash Sales, a Cutest Pet Contest and a Design Contest.

Rocket Carwash was a collaboration between BCBSNE and Rocket Carwash where employees could pre-purchase a $10 carwash with $6 being donated back to UWM.

The Cutest Pet Contest invited employees to submit photos of their furry family members for a chance to win a prize. Employees then had the chance to vote on which pets they thought should be the top three.

Employees could also show off their artistic side by submitting a design in the Design Contest. Once the designs were submitted, employees voted on which one they wanted to see on the thank you card given out at the end of the campaign.

BCBSNE also hosted two in-person fundraising events on Wednesday, Oct. 25, in addition to the volunteer opportunity.

The 2023 Trivia Challenge gave employees the opportunity to assemble a team of up to six people for a head-to-head competition. The teams showed off their knowledge and skills while also participating in small games between rounds.

Employees could also participate in Office Olympics, a new event inspired by the TV show “The Office.” In teams of six, employees competed in various events, including a paper airplane throwing contest, a filing relay and more.

“Our team really enjoyed the event,” said Leah Bond, director of human resources and a member of the winning Office Olympics team. “It was great to see so many people in person and laugh together while watching the various events. Plus, who doesn’t like a little friendly competition?”

In another new event this year, 10 lucky employees were chosen from a raffle and enjoyed breakfast with BCBSNE’s new CEO and President Jeff Russell.

The six events in addition to pledging pushed BCBSNE past its goal with 51.4% of employees participating.

“Thank you to everyone who supported this year’s campaign,” said Jan Evans, senior director of data platform reliability and engineering and 2023 campaign co-chair. “I’m so proud of the work we did and the support we were able to give United Way of the Midlands and our community.”

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