UnitedHealth Group Joins "A Billion + Change" Campaign, Pledging Employee-Volunteer Support for Community Nonprofits Across the Country

February 15, 2012
  • “A Billion + Change” Campaign enlists employee volunteers to provide needed skills to nonprofits
  • Employee participation, valued at $2 million, will include customized online “microvolunteering” platform

UnitedHealth Group is joining the “A Billion + Change” campaign, enabling its employees to make a difference in their communities by volunteering their job-related skills to nonprofits across the country.

UnitedHealth Group employees will contribute an estimated $2 million worth of volunteer services through June 2013.

“We are enthusiastic about UnitedHealth Group’s interest in expanding this area of volunteer work and are delighted to have the company’s support as a pledge company,” said Jennifer Lawson, Executive Director, A Billion + Change. “A Billion + Change,” launched by the Corporation for National and Community Service in 2008 and now managed by the Points of Light Institute, helps nonprofits fulfill their missions by providing them with access to corporate volunteers’ job-related skills, so that companies can drive community change with the talents of their workers.

“The ‘A Billion + Change’ campaign offers us an opportunity to broaden our commitment to community service by tapping our employees’ unique skills, talents and assets to address crucial community needs,” said Kate Rubin, UnitedHealth Group vice president of social responsibility.  “By expanding our skills-based volunteering, we not only deepen employee engagement and enhance our people’s business and leadership skills, we strengthen our communities across the country through meaningful social action.”

UnitedHealth Group is encouraging employee participation in this important program by launching a customized companywide version of Sparked.com, an online “microvolunteering” platform.  Microvolunteering allows employees to assist nonprofits by completing skills-based activities posted online during their breaks and available spare time.  Nonprofits that need assistance in areas such as finance, marketing, communications and graphic design use microvolunteering as an efficient and cost-effective way to seek expertise and assistance.  Projects are broken into small pieces – with time commitments ranging from 15 minutes to several hours – requiring no volunteer training or vetting but relying on volunteers’ skills for performing the work.

The “A Billion + Change” campaign is the newest addition to employee volunteer efforts that have long played an important role in UnitedHealth Group’s mission to help people live healthier lives.  Survey results show that 79 percent of UnitedHealth Group employees and 97 percent of executives volunteer, compared with a national volunteer rate of about 26 percent, according to the Corporation for National & Community Service

UnitedHealth Group’s new pledge follows a pilot program last summer in which employees helped nonprofits in 22 states and 12 countries through microvolunteering for nonprofits in the areas of health, poverty, education, environment and youth.  Results from an evaluation survey of the pilot were encouraging, with 83 percent of respondents stating they would recommend microvolunteering to others.

UnitedHealth Group will also continue promoting skills-based volunteering through its Legal Services Pro Bono Program.  This program, initiated in 2008 by the company’s Legal Department, provides legal assistance to youth, the elderly, first responders and nonprofit and charitable organizations.  UnitedHealth Group is partnering with HandsOn Twin Cities, a Points of Light Institute volunteer action center, to incorporate the program’s best practices into a toolkit that will serve as an internal model for other UnitedHealth Group organizations.    

Studies show that, in addition to community benefits, volunteering is part of a healthy lifestyle. A study released by UnitedHealthcare and VolunteerMatch in 2010 found that 68 percent of those who volunteered in the past year reported that volunteering makes them feel physically healthier, and 95 percent agreed that volunteering also improves emotional health. According to the survey, volunteering appears to correspond to a healthier Body Mass Index (BMI), with a significantly lower proportion of volunteers identified as obese (31 percent) when compared to non-volunteers (36 percent). Twenty-nine percent of volunteers who suffer from a chronic condition say that volunteering has helped them manage a chronic illness.

For more information, visit http://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/SR.

About A Billion + Change
The A Billion + Change campaign was launched by the Corporation for National and Community Service in 2008 and continues as an initiative of the federal agency.  Reinvigorated in 2011 with expanded leadership under the honorary chairmanship of Senator Mark Warner, it is now housed and managed by Points of Light.  The initiative is powered by the support of Deloitte LLP, HP, the Case Foundation and IBM with additional founding support from State Farm, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP and Morgan Stanley.

About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better.  With headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology- enabled health services.  Through its businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more than 75 million people worldwide.  Visit www.unitedhealthgroup.com for more information. 

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