BLOOMFIELD, Conn., September 17, 2012 - Cigna (NYSE: CI) has designated Clarissa Black, founder of Pets for Vets, an organization that matches shelter dogs to armed forces veterans, as its second GO YOU Award nominee. The nomination comes with a Cigna Foundation grant of $20,000 for the charity.
Clarissa Black, founder of Pets for Vets, and her dog Bear, the inspiration for the organization that matches shelter pets to armed forces veterans. (Photo: Pets for Vets)
Black, an animal trainer, founded Pets for Vets after a stint training elephants and dolphins. She shifted her focus to dog training in 2008 and saw the positive effect a dog can have on veterans suffering from PTSD and other conditions.
"Clarissa's passion for helping others and her effectiveness in bringing Pets for Vets to life makes her a great choice for GO YOU Award recognition. The fact that Pets for Vets focuses on those who have provided the highest form of service - our military veterans - makes her GO YOU credentials that much stronger," said David Cordani, CEO of Cigna. "We're proud to support this innovative approach to improving the lives of America's veterans by matching them with dogs in need of loving homes."
"While my greatest personal satisfaction comes from seeing the bonds we help build between the dogs we save and the fighting men and women we assist, I am very pleased to receive this recognition from Cigna. It's a wonderful vote of confidence in our work, and will help us bring stability and joy to the lives of more of our veterans," Black said.
The GO YOU Award recognizes exemplary people who have harnessed the power of the individual to create or grow nonprofit organizations that contribute to personal, family and community health. The award, which was created earlier this year, is an extension of Cigna's focus on encouraging people to be true to themselves and meeting their individual needs.
Nominations are made four times a year, with the annual GO YOU Award recipient to be voted on by Cigna employees from among the four nominees. Because of this recognition, Pets for Vets is eligible to receive the additional $50,000 Cigna Foundation grant to be given to the highest vote-getter.
To determine who will receive a GO YOU Award nomination, a panel consisting of Cigna Foundation officers and others within the company with expertise in the field of health-related philanthropy selects finalists based on recommendations from both internal and external sources. The panel considers both the personal story of the potential individual recipient and the effectiveness of their nonprofit organization.
The first finalist designee was Susan Hester, the founder of Mautner Project of Washington, D.C.
About Cigna and the Cigna Foundation
The Cigna Foundation is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna employees live and work. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.
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