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Managing Director, Community Relations
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island
At Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), Carolyn E. Belisle oversees an extensive array of community relations and corporate social responsibility activities, which include corporate charitable giving, BlueAngel Community Health Grants and the BlueAngel employee volunteer program.
Under Belisle’s leadership, BCBSRI has developed a reputation for award-winning corporate citizenship. In the 14 years since she joined the company, she has built, expanded and dramatically transformed its community partnership and philanthropic activities. In 2014, employees gave 6,667 hours of volunteer service valued at more than $156,000, and 125 organizations received financial or in-kind donations of nearly one million dollars.
Belisle’s work centers on leveraging the company's assets – philanthropy, associate volunteerism, and its strong strategic partnerships — to address critical issues that affect Rhode Islanders’ health. Organizations, initiatives, and projects focused around community health and education, quality of care, and access to care are the primary beneficiaries of BCBSRI financial, in-kind and volunteer contributions.
Through the BlueAngel Community Health (BACH) Grants program, which she was instrumental in creating in 2002, the company partners with community-based agencies that break down barriers to good health created by cost, disparities, system structure and lack of education. To date, BACH grants of more than $2.3 million have touched the lives of 245,000 Rhode Islanders. In 2014 she used the occasion of the company’s 75th anniversary to shift the focus of BACH grants to the fight against childhood obesity, a growing national and local concern.
Five years ago, Belisle envisioned a company-wide day of service, and after a year of planning she launched Blue across Rhode Island, which sends employees across the state to assist nonprofit organizations in completing projects ranging from landscaping and painting to creating “Flu-Fighter” kits for children and supervising wellness screenings for the uninsured. Now in its fourth year, this one day of service, drawing 75 percent of all employees, is a benchmark for corporate volunteerism.
With a deep passion for making a difference, she walks the walk as an active community volunteer. She has served in a leadership capacity on nonprofit boards including Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island, Big Sisters of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Commission on Women Project. She is immediate past-chair of the American Heart Association, president of the Grantmakers Council of Rhode Island, an appointed commissioner for Serve Rhode Island and a member of the Women Helping Women committee of Crossroads Rhode Island. United Way of Rhode Island honored Belisle in 2013 with its Partner of the Year award for her collaborative efforts with its 2-1-1 service connecting underserved Rhode Islanders to health and human service providers, government agencies and community-based organizations. Belisle spearheaded a series of BCBSRI community health screenings each month around the state and negotiated the donation of the company’s former “Wellness Van” to UWRI, which was then converted to take the 2-1-1 program mobile.
Belisle is a graduate of the University of Hartford and holds a B.A. in public relations and marketing. She and her family reside in Cumberland, Rhode Island.