Blue Cross Foundation Announces 2017 Angel Award® Honorees

Ten individuals to be recognized for outstanding service to children at October event

(Baton Rouge, LA) — This October, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation will honor ten everyday Louisianians doing extraordinary good for the state’s children at the 2017 Angel Award® ceremony.

This year’s honorees were chosen from a record number of nominations submitted from across the state, from New Orleans to Shreveport. Each Angel will receive a $20,000 grant to the charity of their choice to deepen the impact of their work.

The work of the 2017 class of Angels ranges from supporting Louisiana’s foster children to community development and education. Each is notable for a long-term commitment that has inspired others and built a movement around bettering the lives of children.

“Each of our Angels began their work by making the decision to do something simple to help a child. But what makes them stand out is how these individuals have thrown themselves fully into a life of service and impact,” says Foundation president Michael Tipton. “We hold these people up because we want to show how a commitment to everyday goodness takes hold and spreads in a way that completely changes the future for our children.”

The stories of each Angel will be told at an invitation-only presentation ceremony to be held Monday, Oct. 16 at the Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel. Receiving the Angel Award this year are:

  • Kim Winston Bigler of Covington, the founder of James Storehouse, a nonprofit that ensures children in the foster care system have the necessities they need to thrive through tough transitions.
  • Tammey Cook of Lake Charles, the creator of School2U, a mobile classroom providing academic support to Lake Charles-area children.
  • Lloyd Dennis of New Orleans, co-founder and executive director of the Silverback Society, Inc., which connects young men with adult male mentors who can relate to, motivate and mentor them.
  • Mark and Maegan Hanna of Lafayette, who have made a lifelong commitment to children through building the Clearport Learning Center, a no-cost resource facility to help teens succeed through high school.
  • Verni Howard of Shreveport, the executive director of Providence House, a nonprofit that provides shelter and a childhood development center for homeless men and women with children.
  • Jonathan James of Baton Rouge, the president and CEO of Hope Charities, which helps people living with hemophilia and their families by providing financial, emotional and practical support.
  • Clyde Johnson of Baton Rouge, who has spent the last 13 years working to close the achievement gap with students as part of Volunteers in Public Schools.
  • Peggy Kirby of West Monroe, the executive director of the Louisiana Foster & Adoptive Parent Association, and a foster parent for nearly 30 years who has opened her home to more than 100 teenage girls.

Each year, the Foundation also honors a “Blue Angel,” an employee of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana who has shown extraordinary commitment to children. This year, the Foundation has selected Anselmo Rodriguez of Baton Rouge – a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge’s CHOICES program, which equips students with important tools for financial, career and time management skills.

More information about the Angel Award is available online at

About the Blue Cross Foundation

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation works each day to improve the health and lives of Louisianians by empowering everyday people to do extraordinary good. By building and funding coalitions of friends, families and neighbors, the Foundation hopes to build a healthier Louisiana, particularly for its children. The foundation is funded solely by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, but is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity. Together, Blue Cross and the Blue Cross Foundation invest $2.5 million each year into Louisiana’s communities and nonprofits.