Sponsor Spotlight: Humana employees volunteer time & expertise to Up2Us Sports

Humana for Blog

Over the past six years, Up2Us Sports has accomplished a lot. We started as a staff of three in New York City working with a small but passionate coalition of around 100 organizations and a handful of coaches. Today we are a staff of 44 across nine major cities, we have trained and placed over 1,800 young adults in youth-serving organizations across the country, reached over 280,000 at-risk youth, and our national coalition now includes more than 1,200 organizations. We strive to train and place more coaches, continue serving our member organizations at a greater capacity and give more kids living in some of the most underserved parts of the country the opportunity to have a trained coach-mentor in their life. Up2Us Sports Founder & CEO Paul Caccamo promises that he “won’t stop until we build a national workforce of trained coaches who ensure that all children discover their own capacity for success.” As we continue to grow and look forward to what we can accomplish over the next six years, we understand more than ever how valuable our network of members, coaches, donors and volunteers are to ensuring we reach our goals of serving more programs, coaches and kids. This has been and continues to be a true team effort!

The Humana Foundation has been a key team member in Up2Us Sports’ growth and impact since 2014. Through their support, Up2Us Sports’ signature Coach Across America (CAA) program has grown to new cities and our capacity to train coaches has nearly doubled. This support has been foundational to the impressive growth Up2Us Sports has experienced in recent years.

In Summer 2015, the two organizations deepened their partnership through a volunteerism initiative that paired Humana employees with relevant projects within Up2Us Sports. “One of Humana’s core values is ‘rethink routine’ and as we consider the relationships the Humana Foundation has with many outstanding nonprofits we found a great opportunity to ‘rethink’ the way we provide support. It’s an honor to fund our partners through Humana Foundation grants but we also realize that sometimes nonprofits have needs that go beyond the scope of our funding,” said Humana Foundation Project Manager, Remy Noble. “Through volunteerism, we saw a great way to meet the needs of our partners while also offering Humana associates ways to engage in skills-based volunteer projects that enhance their personal well-being and professional development. It’s been a win-win!”

Up2Us Sports is committed to continuing to maintain a goal of allocating 83 cents of every dollar we receive to programming, and the volunteer initiative with Humana helps us continue our focus on program growth, improvement and sustainability. Additionally, the unique skills of Humana employees provide our staff with information and support they otherwise would not have access to.

Leslie Clements, Program Manager of Associate Well-Being Experience and Insights, manages Humana’s employee volunteerism program “Our partnership with Up2Us Sports provides an excellent opportunity for Humana associates to put their professional talents and skills to use to make a direct impact on community health, as both of our organizations understand the importance of total well-being.”

Read more about the exciting projects that Humana volunteers have participated in below:

Monitoring and Evaluation Statistical Analysis

One of our largest areas of work is within our Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) team. This team of three full-time staff selects data collection tools and methods for the CAA program then manages and analyzes the collected data for internal learning, reports for funders and information for other stakeholders. This data and reporting also helps to build evidence and best practices for the entire SBYD field. For the 2014-2015 program year, CAA was unable to work with an external evaluator, as is typically done to help in the process. Enter Humana employees Monica Greer and Sophia Zhao. These two employees have deep expertise in data analysis and were paired with the M&E team to assist. “Monica and Sophia were able to provide CAA with the additional statistical analysis that would otherwise not be available...which allowed us to dive deeper into the data and provide richer evaluation results to stakeholders, “ said Lauren Kinderknecht, Assistant Director of M&E at Up2Us Sports.

“It was an honor to work with Up2Us Sports and utilize my analytical skills to help them accomplish their very important mission. I really enjoyed learning about the presence that Up2Us Sports has in communities all around the country, and it is exciting to give back and help an organization that does so much for these communities.” - Monica Greer, Ph.D. Business Consultant, Senior Products Actuarial – Strategic Guidance

“I loved working with Up2Us Sports to help them evaluate the impact of their program on improving physical activity level of program participants. It fulfilled my passion for continued research in public health and sharpened my analytical skills. I am glad that I was able to contribute to their presentations on program effectiveness and grant applications.” – Sophia Zhao Analytics Consultant, Clinical Analytics

Marketing Plan Strategy Development

The reach of Up2Us Sports is wide and our small but mighty marketing team works diligently to ensure our stories and successes are broadcast nationally. The team of three who work out of the National office oversee the strategic marketing, communications, public relations, social media, and graphic design needs of the entire organization. One of the foundations of any marketing department is a marketing plan. Humana employee Jackie Rivera has provided guidance and feedback throughout the development of our 2016 marketing plan and as a result, it will be the most robust the organization has ever had. When asked of the impact Jackie had made to this project, Chief Marketing Officer Mario Argote stated that “the ideas and perspective she shared with us have been invaluable and we look forward to continuing to work with her in the coming months.”

“Volunteering with Up2Us Sports was a powerful reminder of how small gestures can affect major change. Such a simple commitment helped progress a major goal for the organization. And while I played a very small role in that progress, I walked away with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that Up2Us Sports will continue on to do many great things for the communities they serve.” - Jackie Rivera Project Manager, Senior Products

Writing Coach Stories

Up2Us Sports interacts with, trains and collaborates with thousands of people each year -- from coaches to executive directors to program staff. A major element of the marketing department is capturing the compelling stories of impact that exist as a result of the work our coaches do. Over the past four months, two Humana employees - Vian Wheatley and Haley Word - have written five stories, which have been featured on our website and social media channels, been used in various grant applications and updates to our stakeholders across the country. Vian and Haley’s contributions have effectively doubled the amount of content the marketing team has produced in this time.

“Up2Us Sports presented an opportunity for me to go back to writing again as well as giving back to the community. I loved hearing (and reading) the unique stories of the coaches – their own journey as well as their efforts to improve the lives of the children within their communities and how this was possible with the help of Up2Us Sports. This quote from Benjamin Franklin sums up my experience writing for this organization – “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” - Vian Wheatley Process Manager, HPS Transaction Processing Team

“Helping Up2Us Sports share the amazing stories of their coaches has been such a rewarding experience for me. I have enjoyed learning about the presence that Up2Us Sports has in communities all around the country, and it is exciting to give back and help an organization that does so much for these communities.” - Haley Word Analyst, Humana Pharmacy Regulatory

With funding from the Humana Foundation and the collaborative efforts of Humana volunteers, Up2Us Sports is able to broaden SBYD program capacity across the country. As this partnership continues, the mutual goal of Up2Us Sports and Humana remains the same: to promote change in the lives of America’s most vulnerable youth. Clements states, “Humana has a bold goal. The communities we serve will be 20 percent healthier by 2020 because we make it easy for people to achieve their best health. One way Humana is making progress towards this goal is through volunteerism and community involvement.”


Leslie Clements Monica Greer Remy Noble Jackie Rivera Vian Wheatley Haley Word Sophia Zhao

From the staff here at Up2Us Sports and from all of the coaches, organizations and kids who benefit as well, a hearty THANK YOU to Humana and their wonderful volunteers for doubling down on their commitment to healthy communities!