Page Title, Social Icons for page template

News Releases

News Releases - Find Your Region Map

Find Your Region

EXC - Excellus BCBS Service Area - Modal

Modal for Excellus BCBS Service Area

Asset Publisher

angle-left People with disabilities, grieving families and others to benefit from Excellus BCBS Community Health Awards

People with disabilities, grieving families and others to benefit from Excellus BCBS Community Health Awards

For Immediate Release:  2017-12-19

Contact:  Joy Auch, (585) 238-4374

Volunteers helped riders guide their horses around a stable in Webster as part of a therapeutic riding program at Heritage Christian Services.

Lorrie Renker, Director of Heritage Christian Stables, noted that the program does more than just teach these children and adults to ride horses.

“Riding can be an empowering experience for anyone and especially for riders who might usually use a wheelchair,” she said. “Horseback riding can also help our children and adults improve their balance and coordination while boosting their confidence and self-esteem.”

Heritage Christian Services will now provide more scholarships to help adults and children participate in the program, thanks to an Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Award.

Heritage Christian Services is one of 11 nonprofit winners of Excellus BCBS’s December 2017 Community Health Awards. Each nonprofit earned up to $3,500 of the $28,000 allocated by Excellus BCBS for health and wellness programs in the six-county Finger Lakes region.

The winning programs in Monroe County include:

  • Daystar for Medically Fragile Children in Brighton: $2,000 to help its pediatric nursing program enroll 40 children and ensure that its nursing staff has the materials and supplies needed to support each individual’s special needs.

“Excellus BCBS’s support will provide critical medical supplies and equipment to help our babies thrive as they are all struggling with complex medical healthcare needs” said Kim Condon, Daystar’s Executive Director.

  • Rochester Hearing & Speech Center: $3,500 for diagnostic devices and clinical supplies needed to help more low-income people get the care they need throughout its Outbound Community-based Audiology Services program.
  • Heritage Christian Services: $2,500 to fund scholarships and equipment for its therapeutic horseback riding program at Heritage Christian Stables in Webster.
  • Louis S. Wolk JCC of Greater Rochester in Brighton: $2,000 for a Stretching the Limits class that helps people with Parkinson’s disease improve flexibility, strength, posture and balance.
  • Pittsford Youth Services: $3,000 for its youth bereavement therapy program, which includes support of Camp Heartstrings, a summer camp for children, and therapeutic counseling for families who’ve experienced the loss of a loved one.

“Thanks to the support of community partners such as Excellus BCBS, Pittsford Youth Services will be able to fill the void in bereavement therapy services for children and will have an immeasurable impact on a grieving child, and their family, at a critical time in their lives,” said Jill Lennox, Executive Director, Pittsford Youth Services.

  • Refugees Helping Refugees in Rochester: $2,000 for A Voice for Women program that focuses on women’s health issues, such as family planning, female genital cutting and childbirth.

Other winners include nonprofits in Livingston and Ontario counties, including the Catholic Charities of Livingston County ($3,000), Livingston CARES ($3,000), Thrive to Survive in Ontario County ($3,000), Friends of Ganondagan in Ontario County ($2,000) and Ionia Volunteer Fire Company ($2,000) in Ontario County.

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

# # #

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