Why #FloridaGives

Posted on Nov 15th 2017 by Sharon LaSure-Roy

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Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Susan Towler, Vice President, Florida Blue Foundation and the Executive Director, Corporate Social Responsibility for Florida Blue, to chat about the work of the Foundation, the importance of Giving Tuesday and our new #FloridaGives community campaign.  

Q1: Susan, tell us about the Florida Blue Foundation and how it supports the Florida Blue mission of helping Floridians in their pursuit of health?

Susan:  The mission of the Florida Blue Foundation is to help people and communities achieve better health.  The Foundation strategically allocates grants toward philanthropic, community-based solutions through its focus areas and programs that focus on health solutions in the health care system, multicultural and growing populations, and critical issues of affordability, access and quality.

Q2:  The Florida Blue Foundation also hosts an annual community health symposium and Sapphire Awards, can you share with us more about this event?

Susan: In 2018, the Florida Blue Foundation will celebrate thirteen (13) years of presenting the Sapphire Awards to individuals, programs and organizations in community health. The first set of honorees were in 2005 and since that year, eighty-eight (88) Sapphire Awards, totaling more than $4.2 million, have been awarded to individuals, programs and organizations from across Florida. Click here to see the Sapphire Award Winners from 2005-2017.

The symposium is a great professional development and networking conference for anyone involved in community health and non-profit work. Next year the awards will be given away at the community health symposium on May 3-4, 2018.

Q3. What is the Foundation’s philanthropic philosophy?

Susan: The Florida Blue Foundation has embraced the understanding that we have a responsibility to support and enrich the quality of life for the people we serve and the communities they call home. 

The Foundation focuses on funding programs and organizations that will:

  • Build healthy, strong communities
  • Advance innovation and promote solutions in the health care system
  • Improve consumer health with focus on healthy lifestyles to promote better health
  • Improve quality and safety of patient care

Q4:  What is Giving Tuesday and why is it important?  

Susan: #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving and we use social media to tell the story of volunteerism, collaboration and heart. Celebrated on the Tuesday after shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is sort of the start of the charitable season, when people are working on holiday and year-end giving.

Q5:  Susan, why was it important for the Foundation to work on a Giving Tuesday project?

Susan: The Florida Blue Foundation joined the #GivingTuesday movement because of a shared purpose with our communities. We wanted to know what Floridians’ favorite causes are and why they are grateful for those causes. Working with the #GivingTuesday movement is an opportunity to connect with our communities on a common cause.

Q6:  This seems like a great partnership, how does it work?

Susan: #FloridaGives is an effort to show that one person can make a difference. Between November 16th and November 30th, we are asking Floridians to upload a photo, video or essay about why they are grateful.  Then, we will randomly select five individuals who will have a chance at winning $10,000 for their favorite charity. We are also going to list those volunteer opportunities and causes on our employee volunteer site so that our Florida Blue employees can become engaged in causes that are important to our members and the community.

Q7:  It appears to be very easy, is it a social media campaign?

Susan:  It is more than a social media campaign; we think of it as a social movement campaign.  We want to move people to make a difference and what better way than to ask them what moves them.  All Floridians over the age of 18 can participate.  We can’t wait to see the stories of what moves people to action and what moves them to be grateful.

Thank you Susan, we know we are going to see some moving stories.  To learn more about #FloridaGives and how you can participate click here  


Filed under: Community  


Sharon LaSure-Roy

Sharon is a daughter, sister, proud mother & well-loved wife. She calls herself a #socialmedia storyteller and definitely not a guru. She is a proud graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Follower her on twitter at @sharonlroy and @chefandbride.

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