Chapel Hill, N.C. – Kathy Higgins, who leads comprehensive corporate citizenship initiatives for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC), has been named vice president of Community Relations for the company. The Community Relations Department includes both corporate contributions and an independent, private charitable foundation.
For 10 years, Higgins has led BCBSNC programs related to corporate philanthropy, employee volunteerism and other community involvement. She also led the creation of the BCBSNC Foundation, which was established in 2000 to promote the health and well-being of North Carolinians. She serves as vice president and vice chair of the Foundation, which has awarded $16 million in grants since its creation.
"Kathy has been tireless in finding new and innovative ways for our company and our employees to increase their impact on the communities that we serve," said BCBSNC President and CEO Bob Greczyn. "Her promotion to vice president is a testament to her leadership and effectiveness and to the importance our company places on its community involvement."
Higgins was instrumental in the development of a five-year partnership between the BCBSNC Foundation and the N.C. Association of Free Clinics to provide statewide access to the free clinics and double their capacity to serve uninsured residents of the state. She has been a leader in the development of a number of award-winning signature programs supported through the Foundation, including Be Active KidsSM, which teaches preschool children about nutrition and physical activity; the Breast Health Project, which educates the public about breast cancer and the importance of early detection of the disease; and the Healthy Community Institute for Non-Profit Excellence, which is a two-day, intensive training programs to help nonprofits strengthen their organizational capacity.
Under Higgins' leadership, BCBSNC community involvement has provided millions of dollars in aid to hurricane victims. The company has also been one of the top contributors to the United Way and other local charitable organizations. Its combined corporate and employee donation to the United Way in 2004 was $749,769. BCBSNC employees have volunteered an average of 20,000 hours a year since 1998, and all BCBSNC executives serve on local volunteer boards, committees or projects.
Higgins has worked at BCBSNC since 1987 in a variety of leadership roles in community relations, corporate communications and public relations. She serves on the following nonprofit boards: The Women's Leadership Initiative of the Triangle United Way, The MS Society Dinner of Champions Committee, The Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Health, The Durham Chamber of Commerce, The Kids 'N Community Foundation (Carolina Hurricanes), The Healthy Start Foundation, Jimmy V Foundation Classic Board, The YWCA Development Committee, Lenoir-Rhyne College Board of Visitors, "2 Those Who Care" Board of Governors, Be Active North Carolina, Inc. board of directors; and the Be Active North Carolina Corporate Golf Challenge Committee. Higgins is the co-chair of the 2007 US Women's Open.
Higgins was named as a 2004 Eisenhower Fellow and a 2005 Fulbright Senior Scholar. She was uniquely selected to study health care in New Zealand/Australia/Tasmania.
She received her bachelor's degree in education and psychology from West Virginia Wesleyan College and completed her master's degree course work in exercise physiology and community health education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.2 million members, including approximately 620,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 72 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at
About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation:
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation provides financial support to improve the health and well-being of North Carolinians. This mission is achieved through programs and services funded in response to grant requests, as well as through funding for programs supporting needs identified by the Foundation. The Foundation's primary focus areas include access to health care for the uninsured and underinsured, eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities, physical activity, and screenings and education, all with a focus on preventive care. Since its inception in November 2000, the BCBSNC Foundation has awarded more than $16 million in grants to organizations throughout the state. In addition to its grant program, the Foundation supports several signature programs. These programs include Be Active KidsSM, an award-winning program that teaches preschool children about nutrition and physical activity; and Healthy Community Institute for Non-Profit Excellence, two-day intensive training sessions offered free of charge to all North Carolina nonprofits. Additional information about the Foundation's signature programs and grant requirements, as well as a list of all grants awarded can be found on the Foundation's Web site at