Anthem Foundation Impacting Blind and Visually Impaired People Nationwide

More than 500 people from 12 agencies participating in USABA
Fitness Challenge

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Thanks to a generous $213,120 grant from the Anthem Foundation, the
United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) is pleased to
implement the National Fitness Challenge for the fourth consecutive
year. During the next year, the USABA is partnering with 12 agencies
throughout the United States to provide more than 500 blind and
visually impaired adults with opportunities to increase their physical
fitness levels and live healthier, more active lives.

“We are extremely pleased, honored and excited that the Anthem
Foundation is once again supporting our efforts to impact the lives of
people who are blind and visually impaired,” said Mark Lucas, executive
director of the USABA.

The goal of this program is to raise the physical activity levels of
each participant to the level recommended by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC). This year’s program will integrate the use
of technology and social media to help the participants set goals,
create team environments and encourage leadership. The USABA will
provide each participant with a Fitbit, which provides a universal way
to measure many kinds of activities, calories burned and the number of
steps taken. Some of the activities included in this year’s challenge
include goalball, indoor rowing (outdoor if available), running, judo,
yoga and couch to 5k/half marathon programs.

Research has consistently shown that individuals who participate in
regular physical activity to improve their health have higher energy
levels, a lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological
health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Unfortunately,
because of the numerous barriers and misconceptions about their
abilities, more than half of those who are blind and visually impaired
in the United States do not participate in even a limited physical
fitness routine.

“The Anthem Foundation helps us continue meeting the company’s
commitment to helping individuals lead active lives and avoid the health
risks that come from having a sedentary lifestyle and obesity,” said Pam
Kehaly, president of Anthem Inc.’s Specialty business and West Region.
“This physical fitness challenge is a great program. We believe no one
should be denied the opportunity to enjoy the physical and emotional
benefits of exercise; therefore, we are very proud to partner with the
USABA once again to ensure that vision impairments don’t hinder the
recreational opportunities that are available to people.”

The funds from the Anthem Foundation grant will provide each participant
with a Fitbit, fitness and nutrition coaches at the partnering agencies,
prizes for participants who excel, and technical and financial support
for everyone participating in the program.

The 12 agencies that are participating in the USABA-Anthem Foundation
National Fitness Challenge program include:

  • Atlanta – Georgia Blind Sports Association
  • Austin – Texas School for the Blind
  • Cincinnati – Cincinnati Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Cleveland –Cleveland Sight Center
  • Denver – Association of Blind Athletes of Colorado
  • Indianapolis – Turnstone Center
  • Kentucky – Independence Place Kentucky
  • Los Angeles – Junior Blind of America
  • Phoenix – SpoFit
  • Sacramento – Sacramento Society for the Blind
  • San Francisco – Lighthouse for the Blind
  • St. Louis – Delta Gamma Center

About the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA)

Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the
United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind
individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a
world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the
abilities of Americans who are legally blind. USABA’s mission: to
enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by providing the
opportunity for participation in sports and physical activity. For more
information go to

About the Anthem Foundation

The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and
through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes
the inherent commitment of Anthem, Inc. to enhance the health and
well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem, Inc.
and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its
funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative
solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy
Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets
specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and
medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low
birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that
decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in
adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and
smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s annual
associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates’
campaign pledges. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please


Courtney Patterson