Giving Back: A 2016 recap
2016 was a year of "new" for Bluetree Network. New service offerings, a new look and feel, new Blueleaves, and new Operations Team members. It was an exciting time.
But it was our new experiences that shaped us. Not only did these experiences impact Bluetree, but they allowed us to help shape others’ lives as well. We've always put a priority on giving back. Not because we feel like we should, but because we need to. It’s how our world keeps spinning. It’s how our communities keep improving. It’s a time to reflect on the relationships with those around us and how we will continue to make those relationships strong.
We hope you are keeping this in the back of your mind as you surround yourselves with those you care about most this holiday season.
To celebrate, we’ve compiled all the fun times we’ve had with our partners and the community in 2016. Enjoy:
The National Forest Foundation
With your help today, we pledged to plant 161 trees! Come by booth 5437 tomorrow at #HIMSS16 and let's double that! pic.twitter.com/xHbh8r50ty
— Bluetree Network (@BluetreeNetwork) March 2, 2016
HIMSS16 brought 40,000+ visitors to Las Vegas last winter, but that didn't stop us from standing out. In our first year of exhibiting at one of the most prestigious events in the healthcare IT industry, our booth visitors had the chance to fill out a leaf for our tree planting initiative. For every leaf filled out, Bluetree pledged to plant a tree in North America via the National Forest Foundation. In just two and a half days, we received enough leaves to plant 435 trees! These new trees aided in the restoration of national forests damaged by wildfire, insects, disease, and other impacts.
The good news is that we're doing this same promotion in 2017 in Orlando from February 19-23 at the Orange County Convention Center. And we have an even bigger booth!
Loma Linda Storybook Gala
Ted and Karly showed their love and support for our friends at Loma Linda University at their 23rd Annual Children's Hospital Gala. The event attracted 950 attendees and raised over $1.3 million for the Vision 2020 - Children's Hospital.
Urban League of Greater Madison
Bluetree was a sponsor for the Urban League of Greater Madison, an organization that provides career development training and job placement assistance for unemployed and underemployed adults in the Madison area. Our donation supported technology programs within the Urban League, including an IT Careers Academy that prepares individuals in the community for entry-level IT Help Desk positions. Bluetree's sponsorship was recognized at the 2016 Emerge Gala in downtown Madison.
A group of 15 Blueleaves volunteered at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum in the early summer months. We pulled noxious weeds, including garlic mustard and dame's rocket, from the Wingra Oak Savanna in their restoration efforts. Afterwards, the group headed to nearby Wingra Boats to canoe, kayak, and load up on refreshments.
As part of our 2016 Give Week, a number of Madison Blueleaves participated in Project Home’s Paint-a-Thon by painting the exterior of a local Madison family’s house. Project Home's mission is to improve the quality and affordability of housing for low-to-moderate income residents in Dane and Green counties. The Bluetree team joined volunteers from the Do Gooders and the Madison Breakfast and After Hours Rotary Club on a beautiful Saturday in Stoughton. Despite a few angry bee swarms, and a fairly large paint spill courtesy of our co-founder, Ted Gurman, the volunteers managed to repaint the house and give it a refreshing new look.
Katie Freeman and Kelly Suhr were honored to provide a training seminar on Healthcare IT for Year Up, a non-profit organization aimed at closing the opportunity divide among young urban adults. Year Up provides skills training, on-the-job experience, and support to empower 18-24 year olds to find gainful employment at the end of an intense 11-month training program. Bluetree worked with Year Up to provide training for 10 young people who expressed interest in working in healthcare. Katie and Kelly led the group through typical healthcare workflows, billing examples, government initiatives in healthcare, and medical terminology. It was a great experience all around and we look forward to a continued relationship with Year Up. If you'd like to learn more about Year Up, check out their story in the book "A Year Up," written by their founder and CEO, Gerald Chertavian.
Our Denver Blueleaves have been prepping meals and serving food at the SAME Cafe, where food is served at whatever price can be afforded by the patron, for quite some time now and volunteered a handful of times in 2016. We look forward to the many volunteer sessions to come in the future!
The Road Home
#BlueLeaves with @unitedwaydaneco & The Road Home to end family homelessness in Dane Co! #daysofcaring #letsdothis pic.twitter.com/l1uwQE4xpT
— Bluetree Network (@BluetreeNetwork) April 15, 2016
We had an amazing year with The Road Home, which strives to help homeless families with children through charitable donations and the kindness of the community. Whether it was our painting session at one of the buildings dedicated to housing homeless individuals, or the backpacks filled with school supplies that we donated to young kiddos in advance of the 2016-17 school year, we truly value our partnership with the organization and we hope we were able to help make a difference in the community.
Second Harvest Foodbank
The Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin challenged individuals in the Madison area to take action and "Go Orange" by posting pictures of themselves wearing orange (the symbolic color for hunger) to the local NBC Facebook page. Sponsors in the community donated 25 meals to Second Harvest for every photo. On September 8th, folks in the Madison office dressed in orange and posted four pictures on NBC15's Facebook page, resulting in a total of 100 donated meals.
Tri 4 Schools
Madison Blueleaves volunteered with Tri 4 Schools, a local non-profit organization, this past fall. The organization uses sports to help children stay active and teach them about fitness, nutrition, sportsmanship, and self-confidence. The Bluetree volunteers headed to Wright Middle School twice a week during the month of September to run with the middle school students and lead them through obstacle courses. At the end of the month, all Tri 4 Schools participants were able to participate in a Fall Mud Run in Verona, WI!
Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer
Bluetree received one of the most heartwarming thank you messages this past fall after Omega Finney and her team completed their 30-mile trek to raise awareness for breast cancer. Bluetree donated money to the team earlier in the year, and they graciously took the time to send us thank you notes with the photos above.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
#FeelGoodFriday! Bluetree lent a hand yesterday at the @LLSusa Light the Night Walk in Madison! What a great experience for all involved. pic.twitter.com/XdxaOeSnVn
— Bluetree Network (@BluetreeNetwork) October 14, 2016
Bluetree partnered with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's annual fundraising walk to pay tribute to those battling blood cancer. Whether it was setting up, manning the check-in table, or handing out lanterns, Bluetree had a great time supporting such a great organization.
NBC15/Second Harvest Foodbank
#shareyourholidays @BluetreeNetwork @onebarrelbrewco Katie Freeman is incredible. pic.twitter.com/FX5ZlJZTML
— Jeremy Schwach (@SchwachSchwak) November 21, 2016
Here's KFree in action. Doing what she does best. We're hosting Brinner as part of @SecondHarvestSW's #ShareYourHolidays to eliminate hunger pic.twitter.com/MulfB9JIuC
— Bluetree Network (@BluetreeNetwork) November 21, 2016
2016 marked our 4th year of participation in the annual NBC15 Share Your Holidays food and fund drive to benefit those in need in Southern WI. Bluetree has supported this cause as a donor and corporate sponsor, and was proud to once again get involved in the fight to end hunger. Thanks to the generosity of our Blueleaves and our operations team, Bluetree raised 21,516 meals!