Blue Cross Foundation Honors 2017 Angels at Gala Event | Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Foundation Honors 2017 Angels at Gala Event

Ten individuals recognized for work with children at Baton Rouge ceremony

Baton Rouge— On Monday, Oct. 16, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation inducted ten men and women into the ranks of Louisiana’s Angels – those everyday people who have selflessly given their lives to doing extraordinary good for Louisiana’s children.

More than 300 past honorees, board members, public officials and supporters were on hand for the Angel Award® ceremony, hosted at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge. In addition to the award, each Angel also received a $20,000 grant to the charitable organization of his or her choice.

The work of the 2017 class of Angels ranges from supporting Louisiana’s foster children to community development and education. Each Angel is notable for a long-term commitment that has inspired others and built a movement around bettering the lives of children.

Those recognized were:

  • Kim Winston Bigler of Covington, the founder of James Storehouse, a nonprofit that ensures children in the foster care system have the necessities they need to thrive through tough transitions.
  • Tammey Cook of Lake Charles, the creator of School2U, a mobile classroom providing academic support to Lake Charles-area children.
  • Lloyd Dennis of New Orleans, co-founder and executive director of the Silverback Society, Inc., which connects young men with adult male mentors who can relate to, motivate and mentor them.
  • Mark and Maegan Hanna of Lafayette, who have made a lifelong commitment to children through building the Clearport Learning Center, a no-cost resource facility to help teens succeed through high school.
  • Verni Howard of Shreveport, the executive director of Providence House, a nonprofit that provides shelter and a childhood development center for homeless men and women with children.
  • Jonathan James of Baton Rouge, the president and CEO of Hope Charities, which helps people living with hemophilia and their families by providing financial, emotional and practical support.
  • Dr. Clyde Johnson of Baton Rouge, who has spent the last 13 years working to close the achievement gap with students as part of Volunteers in Public Schools.
  • Peggy Kirby of West Monroe, the executive director of the Louisiana Foster & Adoptive Parent Association, and a foster parent for nearly 30 years who has opened her home to more than 100 teenage girls.

Each year, the Foundation also honors a “Blue Angel,” an employee of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana who has shown extraordinary commitment to children. This year, the Foundation has selected Anselmo Rodriguez of Baton Rouge – a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge – Capital City’s CHOICES program, which equips eighth grade students with important tools for financial, career and time management skills. Anselmo received a $5,000 grant to continue his work with the CHOICES program.

At the event, Foundation president Michael Tipton shared what makes an Angel Award honoree stand out: “Our Angels stand out from everyday volunteers for their perseverance,” he said.

“First, they decided to help, and then they kept coming back and working at it. And their work inspired others to join in. And over time, through consistent acts of love and giving, each of our Angels has created a movement of powerful change for children and people and communities across Louisiana. They’ve created extraordinary good.”

More information about the Angel Award, including videos of the ceremony and a summary of each Angel’s work, is online at

About the Blue Cross Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation works each day to improve the health and lives of Louisianians by empowering everyday people to do extraordinary good. By building and funding coalitions of friends, families and neighbors, the Foundation hopes to build a healthier Louisiana, particularly for its children. The foundation is funded solely by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, but is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity. Together, Blue Cross and the Blue Cross Foundation invest $2.5 million each year into Louisiana’s communities and nonprofits.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out our blog.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.