INDIANAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Indiana Fever and Anthem, Inc. today announced a multi-year partnership aimed at addressing social injustice, promoting health and well-being in under-resourced communities, and empowering athletes to become advocates for change. The partnership with the Fever is one of four WNBA franchise partnerships launched by Anthem, with New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta rounding out the list.
These commitments directly align with Anthem’s work to address long-standing racial and health inequities facing communities across the country, and invite each team to partner with Anthem to make a measurable impact on health challenges in their respective cities. In a unique partnership element, whenever the four teams meet during the WNBA season, both teams will come together to host joint community activities that are part of Anthem’s priority areas, such as food insecurity and mental health.
The cornerstone of Anthem’s collaboration with the Indiana Fever is an innovative “Athlete to Advocate” professional executive certificate program, developed and led by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI, that is designed to equip professional athletes to become effective advocates for change. Focused on “Sports, Leadership & Social Justice,” this partnership with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy will provide athletes with new, research-based knowledge and skills related to their leadership roles on and off the basketball court. The “Athlete to Advocate” program will prepare athletes to raise social awareness of the causes they support, advance solutions, and enhance their philanthropic activities and advocacy through their platform as professional athletes.
“As part of Anthem’s commitment to being both a national and local leader, we are working in solidarity with our communities to challenge the status quo and address the factors driving disparities and inequities in our healthcare system and in society as a whole,” said Gail Boudreaux, President and CEO of Anthem, Inc. “This partnership with the Indiana Fever and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, focused on addressing social justice, is just one more example of bringing our commitment to life.”
“The Fever will continue to use our platform and our resources to find innovative and collaborative solutions that make life better for Hoosiers most in need, and this partnership with Anthem and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is a terrific illustration of that. Chronic racial disparities and issues of equity are challenges that require bold strategy, and the Fever remain committed, alongside one of the nation’s most important companies and the world’s first school of philanthropy, to not only address these gaps today, but to prepare leaders to advocate for justice into the future,” Fever President Dr. Allison Barber said.
The “Athlete to Advocate” five-week curriculum created and taught by the Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy and The Fund Raising School (both are parts of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy) begins the week of February 22. It will equip athletes to be effective advocates, donors, volunteers, and community leaders, with a particular focus on issues of racial justice.
Indiana Fever players and staff will participate in the initial cohort, including Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager, Naismith Hall of Fame member, and Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) 2021 Freedom Award recipient Tamika Catchings. The program goal is to expand the “Athlete to Advocate” certification opportunity to other WNBA teams and other professional athletes in late 2021.
“Women professional athletes have long been leaders at the intersection of philanthropy, sports and social justice. We are excited to pilot this important work with Anthem and the Fever to help athletes make a positive impact in the community, the nation and the world,” said Dr. Amir Pasic, Dean, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI. “The Athlete to Advocate program is part of our school’s ongoing commitment to collaborating with our partners in Central Indiana and around the world to support those who are working to achieve lasting change and make the world more just.”
Additionally, the Fever and Anthem will partner on year-round community engagement efforts in neighborhoods throughout Indiana. As part of the monthly ‘Anthem Assists’ Award, the Fever and Anthem will recognize Hoosiers across the state who work to advance social justice and unify communities.
About the Indiana Fever
The Indiana Fever have inspired Hoosier girls and women since taking the court for the first time in 2000. Supported by Pacers Sports & Entertainment, the Indiana Fever are committed to competing at the highest level on the court, while also contributing to essential community engagements off the court. To stay up to date with the Indiana Fever, download the official Indiana Fever app on Apple and Android devices. Fans can also visit feverbasketball.com or call (317) 917-2528 for more information.
About Anthem, Inc.
Anthem is a leading health benefits company dedicated to improving lives and communities, and making healthcare simpler. Through its affiliated companies, Anthem serves more than 110 million people, including approximately 43 million within its family of health plans. We aim to be the most innovative, valuable and inclusive partner. For more information, please visit www.antheminc.com or follow @AnthemInc on Twitter.
About the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its academic, research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, the Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. For more information, visit philanthropy.iupui.edu, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram, and “Like” us on Facebook.