On Dec. 21, 1992, the Louisiana Secretary of State recognized the incorporation of the Louisiana Child Caring Foundation — the entity that eventually became the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation.

In recognition of our 25th anniversary, we’re catching up with grantees, starting with our 23 classes of Angel Award honorees. 


Reminiscing about the Angel Award he received in 1997 for his work with Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana, Dr. Stewart Gordon can still recall the words of (then Blue Cross and Blue Shield CEO) P.J. Mills. “He said, ‘There’s a lot more good things going on in the world than bad things,’ and that’s what makes the Angel Award so nice, because it focuses on the good things being done. It’s nice to see a corporation the size of Blue Cross giving back to the community.”

At that time, Gordon was Chief of Pediatrics and oversaw the pediatric residency training program at LSU Medical Center/Earl K. Long Medical Center in Baton Rouge.  He thought the award was “wonderful – it brought more attention to the issue of child abuse prevention and the funds helped the organization to function.”

Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana was founded in 1986 and is the local affiliate of PCA America.  It is the only statewide nonprofit organization focused on child abuse prevention. Gordon no longer serves on the Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana board, but throughout the years, he continued to work in general child advocacy areas. Early brain development was an interest so he developed a program for the pediatric clinic at LSU/EKL that not only exposed preschoolers to reading, but educated their parents on the importance of early brain development.  In a childhood obesity program at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, he worked with overweight children and their families to lead healthier lives.  He was head of the American Academy of Pediatrics for a few years and also became involved with juvenile justice reform.  “I worked in juvenile prisons,” he says, “which unfortunately is where kids experience a lot of abuse and neglect. I asked to work with them for that reason.”

Over 80 percent of children incarcerated have a history of abuse or neglect,” he continues, “You see what happens if you don’t prevent child abuse; this was the end result of not investing in child abuse prevention.” One of the saddest things Gordon saw in the juvenile prisons was children who would rather stay in the prison than be returned to their homes.  “They knew they were safer where they were, that there parents weren’t going to take care of them.”

Once they receive an Angel Award, winners can join Wings, from whose members the panel of judges that selects each year’s winners is chosen.  Gordon has participated on the panel several times.  “It’s pretty challenging because there are so many people doing good things. It was almost painful – you felt bad eliminating anybody.  That was after medical  school and training and early in my advocacy career so it motivated me to keep speaking up for those less fortunate kids I was taking care of.”

“The other thing about doing Wings,” he adds, “is it’s very humbling to be a part of the Angel Award and get in there and see what others are doing.”