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Our Three Areas of Community Connection Focus

Improving health outcomes in BC

Health Foundation

Community Grants and Partnerships

We are proud to support not-for-profit organizations across British Columbia striving to improve health and wellbeing among children, youth, individuals and families.

Annually, Pacific Blue Cross allocates an endowment to our Health Foundation to support programs that are making a difference in communities where we live, work and play. The 9-member Foundation Board meets four times a year to review grant applications from across the province. Board membership is a mix of Pacific Blue Cross employees and directors.

To be eligible for funding, your program should have a goal to improve health outcomes, and fit within one of the following categories:

Kick-start Projects Fund

This fund is intended for one-time projects, start-up programs, equipment or materials directly related to improving mental health and wellbeing, or preventing or managing chronic disease. Grants can be up to $10,000.

Partnership Programs

The Foundation chooses up to 4 new partnerships annually. Funding is up to $45,000 and spread over 3 years. A “partnership” is a project or program that can actively include Pacific Blue Cross (it is not simply multi-year funding).

Major Investment Projects

Occasionally, the Board considers larger multi-year initiatives, most often including capital campaigns. Funding is up to $100,000 and includes a multi-year agreement.

How to apply for funding

  • Step 1: Make sure that your organization meets the funding criteria listed below.
  • Step 2: Select the category that best fits your application
  • Step 3: For Kick-start funding only, please apply using the online application form.

Keep in mind that the board meets only 4 times each year. If your project has a planned start date, make sure that you submit your proposal early.

You will be notified of the decision within a few weeks after the application deadline. Here are the current year’s submission deadlines:

  • February 15, 2017
  • March 31, 2017
  • May 18, 2017
  • November 2, 2017

If you are applying to the Partnership Program, submit your 2-page proposal no later than August 31. Successful applicants will be notified by September 30. You are encouraged to contact PBC to discuss your proposal before submitting the final proposal.

If you are applying in the Major Investment Projects category, please inquire directly to

Funding criteria

  • Priority is given to programs working in the areas of chronic illness or mental health
  • Priority is given to programs that are solution-oriented and can show measurable results
  • You must be a registered not-for-profit organization
  • Funds must be used in BC
  • Your services must not discriminate by race, religion, creed, gender or sexual orientation
  • Preference will be given to applicants that can provide audited financials
The following types of organizations are not eligible for funding:
  • Religious or sectarian organizations
  • Political organizations
  • Competitive sports teams
  • Contract fundraisers or lobbyists

Reducing our footprint

Environment Climate Smart Seal 2015

Our commitment to environmental responsibility encompasses sustainability practices in management of greenhouse gas emissions. Our Green Team focuses on increasing employee awareness and personal accountability.

We are proud of our accomplishments and are committed to finding new ways to reduce our environmental impact.

For two years in a row, we’ve received the Climate Smart Seal for our achievements in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Climate Smart certification program assesses organizations’ baseline GHG inventory and assists with developing GHG management strategies. In 2013, we reduced our gross GHG emissions by 10% (close to 155 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent).

We received the 2014 Environmental Award from the City of Burnaby in the category of Business Stewardship for implementing sustainability measures to reduce our environmental and carbon footprints.

How we lowered our carbon footprint in 2013:

  • We reduced our waste by 2/3 with our Zero Waste Program
  • We lowered our natural gas use by 315 gigajoules from 2012 (close to 8%)
  • We moved to online claims for many benefits, which decreased the amount of mail that was trucked into our building
  • We switched to 100% recyclable envelopes and copy paper, reducing our carbon footprint by 50 tonnes
  • We diverted nearly 305 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent waste from the landfill by paper shredding and recycling
  • We installed moisture sensors in the garden to reduce watering
  • We implemented composting of food waste and paper towels
  • We used only green, chemical-free ozone cleaning
  • We installed low-flow flush valves in washrooms

We continue to search for ways to reduce our hydro and gas consumption by working with our supply chain to reduce delivery and pickup frequency and volume. Our building meets Building Owners and Managers Association Building Environment Standards (BOMA BESt) and environmental best practices.

Making a difference in the Community


Passionate about making a difference, our staff devotes many hours to charities and causes to improve health and well-being in our community.

Volunteers help to raise $20,018,608 for BC’s Children

A big thank you to 24 Pacific Blue Cross employees who took time out of their busy (and sunny) weekends to volunteer for the BC Children's Hospital Miracle Weekend, June 4 & 5.

Our heartfelt congratulations to BC Children’s Hospital on this year’s hugely successful weekend. Together, British Columbians raised $20,018,608 to care for the health and wellbeing of children across the province.

Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

After raising more than $7,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation our Pacific Blue Cross Heart Throbs took to the streets of Burnaby on Thursday, May 19 to ride the ‪Big Bike.

We are proud to support the Heart & Stroke Foundation Big Bike for the ninth consecutive year. Donations help fund important research into life-saving treatments for survivors of heart disease & stroke, not only in BC, but the whole of Canada.

In the last year alone, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has helped create 165,000 survivors. With our help that they can continue to fund vital research and return more survivors home to their loved ones.

Pink Shirt Day

Annually, Pacific Blue Cross goes pink in support of Pink Shirt Day to help put a stop to bullying.

Support for Bali Kids

Every year, Ken Freestone-Swallow and Christopher Robins sell BC cherries in summer street markets and winter craft shows to help raise funds for impoverished children. Their story began in 2008 when Ken and his partner visited Bali. They were deeply concerned about the extent of poverty and the alarming number of orphaned children.

Proceeds from their fundraising efforts provide education for Balinese youth and funding to the Smile Project in Laos, which provides free education and healthcare assistance to abandoned, orphaned and impoverished children in that country.

Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada

Jan Grude, Pacific Blue Cross president and CEO; Sonia Beeksma, Global Television anchor and gala co-host; and Jennifer Petersen, CWFC B.C. and Yukon chapter director

Pacific Blue Cross presented the second annual Children’s Wish Gala, which raised more than $150,000 for Children’s Wish Foundation of B.C. and Yukon. The Children's Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich their lives with hope, strength, and joy. When a child’s travel wish is granted, Pacific Blue Cross proudly provides out-of-province travel insurance for the child and family, so they don’t have to worry about paying for high cost emergency medical care.

Juvenile Diabetes Awareness

Heather Vandenbosch’s son, Riley, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just shy of his second birthday. In 2015, Heather and Debbie O’Connor raised $450 from a 50/50 raffle to support the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes.

Prostate Cancer Research

Every year, in memory of his father who was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Rene Norena, Director of Actuarial Services, and his team raise money to support prostate cancer awareness and research. His team, Mucho Macho, participates in the Do it for Dads Walk Run and raise funds through office events such as samosa sales, bake sales and Kyle Wu’s hair stunt. This year Rene’s team raised $5,864 in support of prostate cancer research.

For the eighth year in a row, Kyle sported a new hairdo for two weeks based on votes by fellow staff members and friends. Each vote helps raise money for prostate cancer research. This year he raised more than $850 with the winning hairdo – the Statue of Liberty.

Investing in our future


Helping future generations reach their potential

We provide scholarships to the children of our employees through our Reach Your Potential program. Recipients are awarded $1,000 each, to a maximum of $4,000 over a four-year period. In 2013, we awarded 21 scholarships.

Meiying Zhuang - Reach Your Potential Program recipient

Meiying Zhuang (pictured above) is a four year recipient of the Reach Your Potential program. She recently graduated with a Bachelor in Science Honours in Physiology with Distinction, and will be starting the UBC MD Undergraduate Program in August, 2014, to earn her Doctor of Medicine degree.

Says Meiying,“With this scholarship, I have gained the precious time needed to excel in my studies and be highly involved in the UBC community, as well as pursue my artistic passions and make my contribution through research and volunteer work. Thank you for enabling me to continue towards my goal of a career in health care.”

Health Scholarships

Pacific Blue Cross provides scholarships to dedicated students building careers in medical and dental care, business and actuarial sciences.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University Foundation

  • Nursing - $1,000 each year for four years

University of British Columbia

  • Pharmacy - $2,000
  • Dentistry Entrance - $1,000
  • Medical Entrance - $1,000

Simon Fraser University

  • Actuarial Science - $2,000
  • Management and Organizational Studies - $1,000

University of Victoria

  • School of Nursing Undergraduate - $2,000

Congratulations to all of our Reach Your Potential scholarship program recipients!

Blue Shield

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