Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Blue Cross Blue Shield Seeks Nominations

DETROIT — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are seeking nominations for the Claude Pepper Awards that honor exemplary senior citizen advocates in Michigan.

The awards are presented to two individuals whose professional or volunteer efforts have made significant contributions to improving the lives of Michigan seniors, particularly those whose access to health care services may be hindered by physical, mental, financial or geographical limitations. The awards are named for the late Florida U.S. Sen. Claude Pepper, one of the principal sponsors of the Older Americans Act of 1965 and a major force in strengthening Social Security and Medicare.

"The Claude Pepper Awards recognize those who make a profound impact on the lives of Michigan's elderly," said Diana Jones, vice president of community affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. "It is a way for us to salute those who give so selflessly of their time and talent to help seniors in our state."

Nomination forms and additional information are available on the Community Awards section of its site. Forms also can be obtained by phoning 1-800-733-BLUE (2583) or by writing to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Community Service Awards, Mail Code 0620, 600 E. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226. The nomination deadline is July 1.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Senior Advisory Council Education Committee will review all Claude Pepper Award nominations and select the two winners: one retiree and one actively employed person of any age. They will each receive a $1,000 donation for their respective nonprofit organizations. Runners-up will receive certificates of merit.

Only nonprofit organizations with a tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code are eligible for Claude Pepper Award donations. If the winners are associated with a non-qualifying program, a qualifying program related to his or her service may be designated.

The Claude Pepper Awards will be presented Friday, Sept. 14 at the Soaring Eagle Resort in Mount Pleasant during the Senior Advisory Council annual conference. This is the seventeenth year for the awards.

Recognition remains one of the most powerful motivators in the field. While some community relations professionals question the number of fundraising award programs they are asked to attend, programs such as these continue to draw attention to unrecognized achievements. Sponsoring or hosting an awards program doesn't have to be a huge or elaborate event. It can be as simple as a luncheon with a dozen people. This one, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, draws attention to the achievements of an aging population.

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