The PopCult Toybox Bonus
We were a little surprised to see one of the nation’s top insurance companies with a booth at The International Toy Fair in New York, but once we found out what they were doing there we knew it would make for a great story. Oliver the Teddy Bear and his friends in Oliver’s Clubhouse all came to be for the purest of motives.
It turns out that this was a non-profit offshoot of UnitedHealthcare. The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides medical grants to help children gain access to health-related services not covered, or not fully covered, by their family’s commercial health insurance plan.
Families can receive up to $5,000 annually per child ($10,000 lifetime maximum per child), and do not need to have insurance through UnitedHealthcare to be eligible.
UHCCF was founded in 1999. Since 2007, UHCCF has awarded more than 10,000 grants valued at over $29M to children and their families across the United States. UHCCF’s funding is provided by contributions from individuals, corporations and UnitedHealth Group employees.
But they also have another method of fundraising. A few years back the folks at UnitedHealthcare decided that, while it was great to give the parents of ailing kids a check to help with their expenses, it might be nice to give the kids themselves, something tangible. So they created a new Teddy Bear named Oliver. It turned out that everybody seemed to want their own Oliver…and they were willing to pay for him.
In this video Scott Otto of UHCCF tells us how that all lead to an award-winning book series, a whole line of plush toys and a series of joke books, all of which are sold at participating retailers with the profits dedicated to UHCCF.
The Foundation embraces and supports the concept of facilitating access to health-related services that have the potential to significantly enhance either the clinical condition or the quality of life of the child and that are not fully covered by the available commercial health insurance plan. The Foundation provides financial assistance toward the family’s share of the cost of medical services.
The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation was incorporated in Maryland on May 25, 1999 to improve the lives of children who need financial assistance to cover medical treatment. In January 2006, the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation was expanded to all 50 states.
Since 2007, UHCCF has awarded more than 10,000 grants valued at over $29M to children and their families across the United States. You can donate directly to UHCCF, or support them by buying their toys and books, either directly from them, or from participating retailers.
With your PopCulteer away at JoeLanta, this will be it for the PopCulteer this week. Next week all of our regular features will return, including Stuff To Do. In the meantime, don’t blow anything up while we’re out of time this time.