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Sapphire Awards Announces Grantmaking Discussion Panelists

January 18, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation (BCBSF Foundation) will gather leaders of company foundations, giving officers and corporate executives in Orlando, Fla. Feb. 22 to explore what effect the increasing alignment between business goals and philanthropy will have on nonprofit organizations.

The discussion with national and regional grantmakers will address how social programming, values and geographic reach are all critical components of grantmaking.

“We want to facilitate information sharing so that all of us can achieve greater efficiencies and leverage our resources for the greatest good,” said Susan Towler, vice president, BCBSF Foundation.

Roundtable panelists, including Gail Christopher, vice president, Program Strategy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Tori Kaplan, assistant vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility, CSX Corporation; Mara Frazier, manager, Community Affairs, Darden Restaurants; Connie E.W. Smith, senior vice president, community affairs manager – Florida, Wells Fargo Government and Community Relations; Javier Soto, president and CEO, The Miami Foundation; Steven Marcus, president and CEO, Health Foundation of South Florida; Kerry Diaz, president and trustee, Quantum Foundation; Eileen Coogan Boyle, president and CEO, Allegany Franciscan Ministries; and David Christian, senior vice president and regional manager, Community Affairs, Regions Financial Corporation, will share how nonprofits can forge strong and mutually beneficial partnerships by understanding what potential grantmakers value.

“Although each organization may have different areas of interest, they all want to increase the capacity of the nonprofit sector to continue to serve the citizens of Florida,” Towler said.

The 2013 Sapphire Awards finalists will be honored on Feb. 22. The finalists include: Nancy Sisson Hardt, M.D. (Gainesville); St. Vincent’s HealthCare Mobile Health Outreach Ministry (Jacksonville); Community Smiles (Miami-Dade); and Womankind (Key West). The Sapphire Award recognizes programs, organizations and individuals from around the state that have demonstrated excellence and innovation in community health. Since its inception in 2005, 45 health-focused nonprofits and individuals have been recognized.

The Sapphire Awards and Symposium is scheduled Feb. 21-22, 2013, at The Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Fla. To learn more and to register for the event, visit

A limited number of scholarships are available. To apply, send email to

About the BCBSF Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation (BCBSF Foundation) is a separate, philanthropic affiliate of Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company. The BCBSF Foundation and its parent, Florida Blue, are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information about the BCBSF Foundation, please visit

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