(WATERTOWN, NY) –  The Volunteer Transportation Center Foundation, Inc. is proud to announce it has received a $5,000 sponsorship from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in support of the services provided to people in the community facing transportation barriers. This marks the third year in a row the health plan has provided funding to support the mission of the Volunteer Transportation Center.

        “Once again, we are thankful to Excellus BlueCross BlueShield beyond words,” said VTC Foundation Director Jeremiah S. Papineau. “We appreciate how they find the value in supporting our mission and recognizing the importance of the work our volunteers do here in the North Country.”

        Mr. Papineau went on to say the funding is even more important as the world continues to navigate its way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

        “The VTC, like many other nonprofit organizations, has seen increased challenges over the past two years,” he said. “Receiving funding from organizations like Excellus BlueCross BlueShield helps to relieve some of the pressure created by an inability to host fundraisers in the traditional way.”

        Mr. Papineau noted the funding will be used to reimburse volunteer drivers for the trips they provide to those in the community who would otherwise not have transportation to crucial appointments.

        “We are proud to support Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. in their mission to provide vital transportation services to residents in need,” said Eve Van de Wal, Excellus BCBS Utica Regional President. “Removing transportation barriers can improve continuity of care by helping individuals keep their medical appointments, leading to better health and wellbeing.”

        Ms. Van de Wal went on to say Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is committed to supporting local organizations that improve community health. The company’s corporate giving follows all applicable laws and regulations and does not support funding organizations that conflict with its corporate mission, goals, policies or products.

        “We cannot thank Excellus BlueCross BlueShield enough for their continued support. It truly helps make our mission possible,” said Mr. Papineau, who noted the funding from the health plan will be recognized with Underwriter Level sponsorship of all VTC events this year and will benefit services provided by the organization across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties.


        Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company’s mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. 

        With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit www.ExcellusBCBS.com.


        The Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. (VTC), established in 1991, drives thousands of miles each year assisting community members in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties. Over the last 30 years, this essential non-profit organization has provided rides to health care appointments, grocery shopping, and other destinations for residents.

       In 2021, our volunteer drivers provided 26,711 charitable trips over 1,073,435 miles in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties. Of those miles, 470,002 helped those in Jefferson County, 151,954 in Lewis County, and 451,479 in St. Lawrence County. That equated to approximately $477,679 in mileage reimbursement for our volunteers.

        The staff, Board of Directors and volunteer drivers look forward to a time when transportation to community activities and services is accessible to all North Country residents regardless of economic or specialized needs. But for now the mission drives on — striving to provide transportation to health, wellness and critical needs destinations utilizing volunteers and mobility management for anyone who has barriers to transportation.

        For more information about how you can help the Volunteer Transportation Center, about its upcoming events, or to become a volunteer driver, contact the agency in Jefferson and Lewis Counties at 315-788-0422, in St. Lawrence County at 315-714-2034, in Oswego County at 315-644-6944, or Western New York at 585-250-5030. Volunteers drive their own cars, set their own hours and receive mileage reimbursement but, more importantly, make a difference in the community. To learn more, visit www.volunteertransportationcenter.org.