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angle-left Excellus BCBS Community Health Awards to Benefit Residents in Livingston, Ontario & Seneca Counties

Excellus BCBS Community Health Awards to Benefit Residents in Livingston, Ontario & Seneca Counties

For Immediate Release:  2017-12-19

Contact:  Joy Auch, (585) 238-4374

The 2017 Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Award winners include five nonprofit organizations serving residents in Livingston, Ontario and Seneca counties.

Overall, 11 nonprofits in the Finger Lakes region earned up to $3,500 of the $28,000 allocated by Excellus BCBS in December 2017 for health and wellness programs.

The winning programs include:

  • Catholic Charities of Livingston County: $3,000 for its Faith in Action program to help poor, elderly and disabled residents of Livingston County remain living at home safely and independently. Funds will be used for home safety modifications and to help transport participants to medical appointments and the grocery store.
  • Friends of Ganondagan: $2,000 for the Victor, Ontario County-based center to offer cooking and cultural learning classes.

“Our goal is to encourage healthy, culturally relevant lifestyles as a way to increase wellness within the local Native American community,” said Meg Joseph, Executive Director, Friends of Ganondagan. “Thanks to Excellus BCBS’s support, Friends of Ganondagan can offer hands-on, community cooking classes led by Native American chefs, featuring Iroquois white corn and other indigenous ingredients.”

  • Ionia Volunteer Fire Company: $2,000 to help the Ontario County fire company purchase an automated external defibrillator (AED).
  • Livingston CARES: $3,000 for its Home Away from Home program where trained student volunteers from SUNY Geneseo provide stress relief for caregivers in Livingston County who need a rest from caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia or a related disease.
  • Thrive to Survive: $3,000 to help the Geneva-based organization enhance its cancer support programming in Ontario and Seneca counties. With the grant, the nonprofit plans to add classes in healthy eating, cooking, exercise and mind and body relaxation.

“We’re extremely grateful for the Excellus BCBS grant, which will help participants create supportive relationships to help them Thrive through their diagnosis,” said Pam Venuti, President, Thrive to Survive.

Other winners include nonprofits in Monroe County, such as the Louis S. Wolk JCC of Greater Rochester ($2,000), Heritage Christian Services ($2,500), Pittsford Youth Services ($3,000), Refugees Helping Refugees ($2,000), Daystar for Medically Fragile Children ($2,000) and Rochester Hearing & Speech Center ($3,500).

Overall, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in the spring and winter of 2017 allocated about $175,000 in Community Health Awards to about 60 nonprofits in its 31-county upstate New York service area.

“A big part of our mission as a nonprofit health plan is to help improve the health of the communities we serve,” said Holly Snow, Director, Community Health Engagement, Excellus BCBS. “But we can’t accomplish this goal alone, which is why we rely upon our partnerships with Community Health Award winners to help residents live healthier and more secure lives.”

For more information on our Community Health Awards, go to

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company's mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit