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Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY employees donate big bucks to local charities

Avery Schneider

Fifteen Western New York charities received a combined donation of more than $67,000, Wednesday afternoon.The donation comes from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York employees who raise funds for charity each year through payroll deductions, personal contributions, fundraising events, and one new initiative. Shannetta Mennenga, BCBS Director of Cultural Alignment, said the company’s Chief Executive Officer decided to make dress-down Fridays part of this year’s fundraiser.

“But not just the dress down,” said Mennenga. “The fact that the money also goes to charity so we’re doing two things. An opportunity, to affect our corporate culture which is a little casual day on Friday for our employees, but also we can raise thousands and thousands of dollars for our community at the same time.”

The dress-down idea raised more than $30,000 of this year's overall total.

Each of the charities chosen by the company’s employees received $4,500 through the company’s Red Stocking Fund – a tradition with roots dating back 60 years. Even though the donation recipients were varied, the themes that came out meshed with the Blue Cross Blue Shield motto.

“We tend to have a theme around pets,” Mennenga said. “People really love their animals here. And also around children and anything that has to do with the health and wellness, we find that that’s also a big theme, too. And it goes well with ‘Healthy Changes Everything,’ of course.”

Mennenga said she’s never worked at a company where employees are more generous with their time and money. She said Blue Cross Blue Shield would like to set an example for others in the community.

The complete list of charities which received $4,500 each includes:

Alzheimer’s Association

American Cancer Society

Buffalo Animal Shelter

Buffalo City Mission

Cradle Beach Camp

Epilepsy Association of WNY

Food Bank of WNY

Hearts for the Homeless

Hospice of Buffalo

Kevin Guest House

Make a Wish Foundation

Pets Alive WNY

SPCA of Erie County

St. Luke’s Mission

Wounded Warriors

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.
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