Washington Spirit announced a new partnership with not-for-profit health insurance provider CareFirst (also known as CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield) to support community groups like DC SCORES and the Excel Academy Public School for Girls and serve as the team’s official health care partner, the team announced at an event yesterday morning.
According to Spirit President of Business Operations Emma May, CareFirst reached out to the Spirit to initiate this partnership. May said CareFirst and the Spirit have similar goals of honoring and improving their communities.
“These partnerships allow us to impact the community. They allow us to work with community partners to impact kids’ lives,” May said. She also linked community outreach to improving the player experience at Washington Spirit.
DC SCORES is a non-profit organization that combines soccer, poetry, and service learning to teach and instill confidence in children, or “poet-athletes” throughout Washington, DC. The program will work with three thousand students this year, according to Executive Director Katrina Owens. DC SCORES is “a foundational partner to Washington Spirit,” as May said. The Spirit have supported DC SCORES in the past by collecting donations of sports equipment, and hosting events with the group, among other initiatives. Spirit player Ashley Hatch also sits on the non-profit’s board.
Mack McGee, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of CareFirst, said described his company’s partnership with the Spirit as a “no-brainer” and said they will support DC SCORES by expanding access to the sport and providing equipment and other resources. McGee said he also hoped they could bring DC students to Spirit games, noting that he had recently attended the March 26 home opener with his daughter.
As part of the partnership, CareFirst, which is headquartered in Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD, will also sponsor a Ward Night event at the Spirit’s September 3 game against the Chicago Red Stars. The event will pay tribute to DC’s neighborhood communities, with special emphasis on Wards 7 and 8.
“When I sat down with the Mayor’s Office a few months ago, I specifically asked, what type of programming would make sense for the Washington Spirit to bring, and they said, ‘celebrate our wards, celebrate our communities,'” May said. In the team’s conversations with CareFirst, she said it was apparent they shared this value.
Wednesday’s event took place at Excel Academy, an all-girls public school in Ward 8, and was attended by representatives of the Spirit, CareFirst, the Mayor’s Office, and DC Scores, in addition to Excel’s DC Scores soccer team. All spoke about the importance of DC SCORES’s mission to the community.
Spirit players Anna Heilferty, Nicole Barnhart, Tori Huster, and Aubrey Kingsbury also attended the event and spent time talking and signing autographs with the Excel students.