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Highmark Employee Volunteers Receive $7,000 in Grants to Support Local Nonprofits

Grants are awarded to community programs with which employees volunteer

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark Inc. recently awarded $7,000 in grants to 14 nonprofit organizations across Pennsylvania to help fund volunteer programs supported by its employees. Grants were awarded to programs that provide physical activity opportunities for children, promote leadership values among youth, offer care for animals, assist individuals with illnesses and provide safety services in the community.

Highmark recognizes that its employee volunteers know best the most pressing needs of the organizations where they volunteer their time. In 2008, Highmark's employee volunteers reported donating a total of more than 92,000 hours to volunteer service to community programs.

Through the Employee Volunteer Grant Program, Highmark awards $500 grants to employees in support of the organization they commit their time and energy to. Grants are awarded on a quarterly basis and are generally given to organizations that do not already receive significant contributions through Highmark's corporate giving program.

The following organizations received grants through Highmark's Employee Volunteer Grant Program during the fourth quarter of 2008.

    Organization      Volunteer and Activity                      County

    The Salvation     Timothy Yee, systems programmer II, is a    Allegheny
    Army              music instruction volunteer who conducts a
                      band, teaches music theory and gives
                      private instrument lessons to children who
                      participate in the Salvation Army's Music
                      Conservatory program at Camp Allegheny.
                      The grant will be used to provide
                      scholarships to enable students to attend
                      camp and participate in the music program.

    Boy Scout Troop   Rose Flask, appeals representative,         Cumberland
    283               volunteers as an assistant Scoutmaster
                      And committee chair to support the community
                      involvement efforts of the boys in the
                      troop. The grant will be used to purchase
                      an automated external defibrillator (AED)
                      machine to use during the CPR-first aid
                      and AED training course for troop members
                      and will be taken on all Scout outings.

    Capital City      Hugh Weaver, financial and operational      Cumberland
    Vipers Youth      Cumberland audit team leader, volunteers
    Hockey Club       as a scorekeeper for the Midget Minor Viper
                      team, one of seven teams in Capital City
                      Vipers Youth Hockey Club. The grant will
                      be used to help the team defer tournament
                      participation fees.

    Carlisle          Bernadette Green, manager of ISG            Cumberland
    Hearts-n-Hands    Relationship Management, is a charter
    Sertoma Club      member of the Carlisle Hearts-n-Hands
                      Sertoma Club, which was formed in 2006 to
                      help ease the day-to-day burdens of
                      individuals undergoing cancer care or
                      other life-debilitating diseases. The
                      grant will be used to assist with
                      transportation costs incurred while taking
                      clients to doctor visits and treatments.

    Cub Scout Pack    Elizabeth Dundorf, technical business       Cumberland
    29                analyst III, volunteers as a committee
                      chair to coordinate pack meetings and work
                      with the Keystone Area Council to help
                      each boy learn the values instilled by the
                      Boy Scouts of America. The grant will be
                      used to help purchase advancements for
                      scouts as they complete lessons.

    Mechanicsburg     Tracy Nye, application developer III,       Cumberland
    Little League     volunteers as the registrar for the
    Association       Mechanicsburg Little League Association
                      and is a team mom for her son's team in
                      the league. The grant will be used to help
                      purchase new safety gear to replace old
                      and outdated equipment.

    Ski Roundtrip     Sandra Stefanic, vice president of Dental   Cumberland
    Race Club         Enterprise, volunteers as the membership
                      chairperson of the Ski Roundtrip Race Club
                      helping to coordinate membership
                      applications and communications. She also
                      performs race timing and administration
                      duties for youth ski races across the
                      state. The grant will be used to help
                      sponsor participation in the Pennsylvania
                      Alpine Racing Association's 2009 State
                      Championship event.

    West Shore        Robert Secord, systems programming analyst, Cumberland
    YMCA              volunteers as needed at the YMCA. The
                      grant will be used to purchase new sports
                      equipment for the youth programs and new
                      furniture for the Youth Center.

    Boy Scout Troop   Maria Davis, application developer III,     Dauphin
    360               serves as the activities coordinator for
                      the troop which supports boys in grades 6
                      through 12 as they participate in
                      volunteer activities throughout the
                      community. The grant will be used to
                      purchase new tents and camping equipment
                      to be used during the troop's monthly
                      camping trips.

    Rutherford Fire   Mark Beatty, EDI project representative,    Dauphin
    Company           has volunteered for 10 years as a
                      firefighter and truck driver for the
                      volunteer fire company and currently
                      serves as a member of the board of
                      directors. The grant will be used to
                      purchase updated turnout gear (coats,
                      boots, pants, helmets, gloves) for the

    Union City
    Little League     Jennifer Brumagin, service representative,  Erie
                      volunteers as a girl's softball coach for
                      the Union City Little League which
                      consists of some 350 children ages 5
                      through 14. The grant will be used to help
                      build new softball fields to support the
                      growing number of participants in the

    Southeastern      Richard Terry, senior provider auditor, is  Montgomery
    Montgomery        a chapter officer and works to engage
    County TU         children and adults in the sport of
    Chapter #468      fishing to help conserve, protect and
                      restore local cold water streams and
                      fisheries in the Philadelphia region. The
                      grant will be used to help implement a
                      "Growing Greener" program at a local
                      elementary school to help children learn
                      how to become eco-friendly.

    Please Don't      Laura Nelson, dental benefits analyst,      York
    Litter            serves as secretary and volunteers to
                      transport the feral and free-roaming cats
                      supported by the organization to the
                      veterinarian to have them spayed or
                      neutered. The grant will be used to help
                      defray the cost of providing proper
                      veterinary treatment for the cats.

    Soroptomist       Joan Punt, senior account executive,        Albuquerque,
    International     volunteers to support women served by the   NM
    of Albuquerque    organization who are victims of domestic
                      violence or transitioning from
                      incarceration back into the community. The
                      grant will be used to purchase cooking
                      supplies for the women to help them
                      prepare meals for their families when they
                      return home and begin to work.

About Highmark Inc.

As one of the leading health insurers in Pennsylvania, Highmark Inc.'s mission is to provide access to affordable, quality health care enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark serves 4.6 million people through the company's health care benefits business. Highmark contributes millions of dollars to help keep quality health care programs affordable and to support community-based programs that work to improve people's health. Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark's positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. The company provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health.

Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit .

SOURCE Highmark Inc.
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