Last year was a historic year in our company’s history as we moved swiftly to address the opportunities brought by health care reform. Our employees not only rose to the occasion during this transitional time, but they continued their long tradition of supporting their communities by donating more than $930,000 to an array of worthwhile organizations during our annual employee giving campaigns. Kicking off the campaigns in 2013 was our first ever Standing Together Week, a company-wide effort across all states that gives employees opportunities to directly engage with and support their communities.
In its second year, the Blue Bear Employee Relief Fund℠ continues to grow and receive significant support from our employees. This fund provides short-term assistance to employees experiencing severe financial need due to unexpected and unavoidable emergencies. More than $162,000 was donated to this fund in 2013, which is comprised of annual giving campaigns donations, fundraising events and various donors across the company who actively support this cause. In 2013, 162 funding requests from our employees were approved. Timely responses to these requests are a priority as our employees encounter these financial obstacles, and in some instances, funding was provided within 24 hours of receiving an application from the employee.