Blue Shield of California’s Todd Walthall and Dr. Greg Buchert (Photo by Saybin Roberson)

Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan Awarded recently $1.1 million to 12 community-based organizations across Southern California during a City Hall Meeting Thursday, January 22, 2020.

The announcement was made by Councilmember David Ryu of the Fourth District, is the Chair of the Health, Education, Neighborhoods, Parks, Arts, Entertainment and River Committee. Members of City Council including Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Curren Price welcomed and celebrated the Blue Shield of California and the 12 organizations for their efforts to enhance local nonprofit organizations’ work of transforming the welfare of underserved communities.

“Today we are here to recognize those who are on the front line of community health and well being,” Councilmember Ryu began his announcement. “As well as, celebrate an incredible investment in these community healthcare leaders.”

Alongside with Councilmember Ryu stood Todd Walthall, Chief Operating Officer of Blue Shield of California, Dr. Greg Buchert, President of Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, Alberto Retana, President and CEO of Community Coalition, Areva Martin, President of Special Needs Network, Inc. Representatives of all 12 organizations were also in attendance joining the group in accepting the award.

“I spent the majority of my career working in the nonprofit world, and I know firsthand how powerful these connections can be,” said Councilmember Ryu. “Our healthcare system is still far too complex, far too expensive and often shuts out the most vulnerable communities that need our help the most.”

“That’s where our nonprofit community-based organizations step in.”

The groups awarded include California Community Foundation – Bold Vision 2020, Boys & Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles, Community Coalition, Los Angeles Food Bank, Stop the Violence Increase the Peace, Southside Coalition, Center for the Pacific Asian Family, Success in Challenges, Special Needs Network, Inc. and Partners in Care Foundation.

Representatives of various awarded organizations sitting in City Hall Chambers awaiting the announcement (Photo by Saybin Roberson)

A small reception was held before the meeting where representatives communicated their gratitude, shared plans and networked throughout. Dr. Buchert of Blue Shield shared how proud he was to partner with the organizations to help carry out the mission of overall health.

“By your being there and us partnering with you, hopefully, we can make a difference in so many people’s lives,” Dr. Buchert shared. “We need to touch so many of them.”

Councilmember Ryu who spent his early years in nonprofits, some of whom were awarded, understood and shared the magnitude of such a large gift.

“One of the hardest things about being in a nonprofit is lack of funding. The fact that Blue Shield is coming today with flying colors and giving $1.1 million to our community-based organizations and probably non-restricted funds, which are the hardest to get; it is a Godsend.”

“This is a step toward strengthening families. This is monies to help crime prevention. This is afterschool programs. This is poverty prevention.”

Walthall on behalf of Blue Shield of California stated, “We are pleased to donate $1.1 million to the community-based organizations because they do good work. They do great work. They work with families. They provide health and wellbeing both physical and mental. But most importantly, they guide folks and they give them a path and opportunity, and that is what we’re all about.”

Representing one of the 11 organizations, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club Metro LA Calvin Lyons said he is glad to be one of the voices of the community bettering mental health and more alongside Blue Shield of California.

Councilmember David Ryu (Center) surrounded by representatives of Blue Shield of California and the 12 organizations awarded with $1.1 million (Photo by Saybin Roberson)

Areva Martin of the Special Needs Network, Inc. gave her gratitude, “Thank you for investing in family safety and for investing in the community. Thank you most importantly for not just talking the talk, but walking the walk and investing communities that make a difference in this city throughout.”

Over the next years, the hope is that Blue Shield of California can continue to grow both its membership and reward, inspiring others to donate as well.

“It’s not just the one-time thing,” Councilmember Ryu stated. “And I hope other private foundations and corporations see the leadership of Blue Shield and step up as well because the government can’t do it alone.”

To learn more about Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan visit