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5 Questions with Stu: Talking Philanthropy with Nick Moriello from Highmark

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I’m very pleased to introduce a new element to my blog.  Each month – beginning today – I’ll be posting another in a new series we’re calling “5 Questions with Stu.”

Each month, we’re asking local philanthropic leaders to answer five questions about how they view philanthropy in their work, their lives, or their organizations. It’s a chance to hear from people we all know, and some you may not know – but in a different way. I hope you like it.

We begin with Nick Moriello from Highmark Delaware. Highmark has proven to be an important player in the state’s philanthropic landscape, with their attention to healthy communities. They have been major supporters behind important work in the area of opioid addiction, and many other things. Nick has served as market President for Highmark Delaware since August of 2018, after serving for over 25 years in other healthcare related positions.

5 Questions with Nick Moriello
President, Highmark Delaware

Why is philanthropy important to you?
As a native Delawarean and President of Highmark Delaware, a company that traces our Delaware roots back more than 80 years, supporting our community through philanthropy and events like the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community inspires me. Whether it is helping a Delawarean overcome addiction or breaking down the barriers to quality health care, our philanthropy makes me proud of what we do. We make a difference, and we see it every day as we work in partnership with so many stakeholders to build a stronger, healthier community.

What are the greatest factors influencing your decisions when you consider opportunities you could support?
Two of the most important factors we consider are overall community impact and the capacity of our nonprofit partner to reach the goals they have set.

The large majority of our giving is through our BluePrints for the Community Fund. Since its inception in 2007, BluePrints has made over $13 million in grants and served nearly 100,000 Delawareans. More than 10 percent of Delawareans have been impacted by a BluePrints grant.

Our BluePrints grants focus on four main areas:

•Increasing access to health care for the uninsured/underserved
•Reducing health disparities in minority communities
•Supporting early childhood development with initiatives focused on health
•Recruiting and training health care professionals.

What community endeavors are you proudest to support or engage in?
I am equally proud of two initiatives. First, I am extremely proud of our efforts to combat the opioid crisis. In 2018, we announced $325,000 in grants to four community organizations that are fighting the opioid epidemic in Delaware. Our nonprofit partners are reaching every corner of our state and taking a multi-faceted approach to addressing the opioid crisis.

My second point of pride is our annual Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community. Last year, our fifth annual walk included 20 local nonprofit partners and more than 1,300 walkers who raised over $186,000 – a new record. Highmark Delaware completely underwrites the cost of the walk, which means 100 percent of the funds raised goes directly to our nonprofit community.

In five years, the Highmark Walk has raised over $600,000 for Delaware nonprofits.

Where do you see the greatest potential for philanthropy to drive change in Delaware?
Our greatest potential to drive change will come through partnerships. There’s not one organization or donor who can be the sole driver of impactful change. If we are going to truly impact our communities and make real change, we need to collaborate and align our funding decisions. Government, foundations, corporations and nonprofit partners all need to work in unison if we are going to drive real change. A great example of the power of partnership is how the Delaware Center for Health Innovation (DCHI) engaged health care stakeholders, which has led to Healthy Communities Delaware, built on the foundation of DCHI’s initial work.

If you could do one thing to increase equity in Delaware, what would you do?
Increase access to high-quality health care. As a health and wellness leader in our state, increasing access to health care is a priority that Highmark is deeply committed to advancing in meaningful, community-focused ways. We work with our members every day to remove barriers and align our philanthropic giving with nonprofit partners who support those efforts. From supporting more accessible transportation for seniors in Sussex County or funding scholarships for preventative care initiatives like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, our philanthropy is another way we are helping to increase access to care and build a healthier Delaware.

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