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Cigna's employees create strong, healthy, and vibrant communities through their volunteer commitments. Employees also get to know their communities better, share their skills, and grow both personally and professionally through their volunteer experiences. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic presented logistical challenges for well-established approaches to volunteering – and, as a matter of safety, employees changed how they volunteered in 2020 – we are proud to say that our workforce found innovative ways to give back to their communities and the causes that are most important to them during this unprecedented time.
Advancing Health Equity Through March of Dimes and United Way Campaigns
In 2020, Cigna's two annual enterprise-wide employee fundraising campaigns found strong support. Despite coinciding with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the 2020 United Way Campaign contributed more than $1.8 million1 into the community through Cigna’s first-ever internal campaign focused on health equity. The campaign offered employees an opportunity to direct personal contributions to an established Health Impact Fund designed to address social determinants of health (SDoH).2 Additionally, employees were invited to participate in an internal health equity challenge to educate and demonstrate Cigna’s commitment to reducing health disparities in the communities we serve. Similarly, the March of Dimes campaign raised more than $327,0003 to help improve health outcomes for moms and babies, and it engaged employees in 25 locations.
Virtual Volunteering During COVID-19
Volunteering while maintaining our internal safety protocols as a result of COVID-19 presented logistical challenges for employees but also allowed our workforce to change the volunteer landscape. Examples of our employees adapting quickly included pivoting from in-person walk/runs to virtual 5k walk/runs and from in-person events to fundraising events “in a box” mailed to attendees’ homes. Enterprise Resource Groups (ERGs) also offered new ways for their members to support the community. In one instance, an ERG launched an external mentoring program focused on providing young adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes with peer connections and expert resources needed to manage the transition to college. The first cohort consisted of eight Cigna mentors and 16 community mentees. In another instance, an ERG created a virtual volunteer program with Upchieve, a nonprofit organization focused on connecting low-income youth with live academic support. In the first year, 171 Cigna employees registered to volunteer in support of this partnership.
As our result of our workforce’s willingness to innovate, our employees volunteered over 57,0004 hours globally in 2020. Approximately 9,000 of these hours were logged through Cigna’s “Use Your 8” program, which gives employees up to eight hours of paid time off to volunteer. Employees also continued to support new and long-standing partnerships with organizations such as Girls on the Run, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Blessings in a Backpack, Achilles International, and Toys for Tots.
2020 Employee Volunteer Highlights
- 31,000 Cigna employees participated in the company’s Global Wellness Challenge, where colleagues around the world join together for our annual fitness challenge. When employees collectively surpassed the challenge activity goal, the Cigna Foundation donated $30,000 to three global charities – the World Food Programme, CARE, and Volunteers of America.
- 200 Cigna interns volunteered with three charitable organizations: Letters of Love, Together We Rise, and The Happy Hope Factory.
- Employees led a variety of local initiatives, including holding virtual food drives, packing activity kits for children in hospitals, and decorating stockings for military personnel overseas.
Individual Action Grants
In addition to employee volunteerism, Cigna supports employee-driven corporate philanthropy. In 2020, the Cigna Foundation invested more than $2.3 million5 into the community through the following signature employee programs:
- Cigna Foundation Matching Gifts Program: We support the charities our employees support by matching – dollar for dollar – individual employee gifts to any eligible nonprofit organization. The Cigna Foundation offered a 2:1 match opportunity in light of COVID-19. This initiative allowed employees to respond to the hardships occurring in the United States when volunteering in person was logistically challenging. Over $2.2 million was donated through the Matching Gifts Program.
- Cigna Foundation Healthy Lifestyle Grants: We make the connection between personal health and charitable giving by awarding small grants to nonprofits selected by employees who participate in healthy events such as walk-a-thons, bike-a-thons, and 5-kilometer races. The Healthy Lifestyle Grants Program awarded $105,500 to participating nonprofits.
- Community Service Champions: Cigna recognizes employees who regularly volunteer with nonprofits outside of work. Eligible employees who volunteer more than 50 hours of their personal time are recognized and celebrated on Cigna's intranet in a quarterly Community Service Champions announcement. In addition, the nonprofit where the employee volunteered receives a Cigna Foundation grant in the amount of $500. Cigna contributed $49,000 to nonprofits through this program.
- Volunteer of the Year Award: The Cigna Volunteer of the Year Award is selected from the previous year's Community Service Champions. The finalist is chosen by the Cigna Foundation Board of Directors and awarded a $5,000 grant and a $2,500 personal award. Cigna awarded $7,500 through this program.
- Board Member and Pro Bono Services: This offers employees another way to volunteer: by serving as a board member for providing pro bono services to a nonprofit. Pro bono services and nonprofit board membership provide skills-based volunteering that enable employees to demonstrate leadership within their local communities.
1 In 2020, the Cigna United Way campaign invested more than $1.8M in communities through corporate gifts ($675,000) and employee contributions ($1,183,741).
2 Social determinants of health (SDoH) are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. They include factors that influence our daily lives, such as economic stability; educational attainment; infrastructure (including housing and transportation); food access; access to health care; and community and social environment (with related factors including loneliness, stress, and discrimination). Research shows that these factors play a significant role in health behavior and health status, utilization of care, and health outcomes – even more so than clinical care.
3 In 2020, the Cigna March of Dimes campaign invested more than $327,000 in communities through corporate gifts ($217,500), matching gifts ($30,000), and employee contributions ($80,000).
4 In 2020, Cigna U.S. employees volunteered 43,496 hours and international employees volunteered 13,715 hours – collectively volunteering for 57,211 hours.
5 In 2020, the Cigna Foundation funded $2.3 million in support of the following employee-driven programs: matching gifts ($2,257,133), healthy lifestyles ($105,500), community service champions ($49,000), and volunteer of the year ($7,500).