At Blue Shield of California, we encourage our people to be good corporate citizens by fostering meaningful and long-lasting relationships with our members and surrounding communities. Ricquel Jackson, Manager of Customer Experience Communications and Engagement, serves as a board member of Keep Oakland Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. This non-profit organization has a mission to create and sustain a beautiful, clean, green, litter-free Oakland through education, community engagement, and volunteer action.
Ricquel works with this nonprofit on various cleanup and beautification projects around the City of Oakland, such as painting murals and planting community gardens. She decided to become involved when her co-worker, Grant Chen, Marketing Performance and Analytics Specialist, sent her team an email asking if anyone was interested in being a board member. When speaking of this decision, Ricquel recalls previously volunteering on a cleanup project for the nonprofit with her daughter. Two years later, while taking a walk in the city and noticing some trash, her daughter suggested doing another cleanup. This prompted Ricquel to respond to Grant’s email. “I’m from Oakland, and I really love my city,” said Ricquel. “People jokingly call me ‘The Mayor of Lake Merritt’ because I always talk about how great Oakland is. So, I can’t say that I love Oakland if I’m not willing to preserve its beauty.”
Grant formerly served on the board for Keep Oakland Beautiful and says, “I chose to volunteer to work to make the City of
Oakland cleaner and a better place for its residents. I enjoyed connecting with other service-minded community members who are relentless in their commitment to Oakland. I truly enjoyed the joy and spirit from my experience on the Keep Oakland Beautiful board.”
In addition to serving as treasurer, Ricquel also sits on the Programs Committee where she reviews grant applications under $1,000 for various beautification projects around Oakland. “It’s very heartwarming to see what people are trying to do. They might just be taking a corner in the neighborhood where the grass is dead and there’s a lot of blight, and within a year or so there’s a beautiful little garden for people to come and sit in.” They are also starting an internship program to get more high school students involved.
The nonprofit recently hosted its annual signature Earth Day Wrap-Up event with a silent auction to raise funds, live music, food, and an appearance by city council member, Dan Kalb. The silent auction featured donated items from various organizations, including the Oakland A’s.
In addition to being a valued, active board member, Ricquel is also a generous supporter. Last year, she secured a donation from Blue Shield of California to further her efforts. Ricquel also contributes through Blue Shield’s Matching Gifts for Board Service program.
Speaking on Blue Shield’s contribution to Keep Oakland Beautiful, Jane Nichol, Manager of Social Impact, Employee Volunteering and Giving, said, “Blue Shield is committed to supporting the communities we serve, and Keep Oakland Beautiful has a meaningful impact on our Oakland neighborhoods. Their education and engagement programs are aligned with our company environmental sustainability goals – creating a cleaner and safer city and improving the environment and local ecosystems. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Keep Oakland Beautiful and having employees like Ricquel participate in activities with tangible and lasting benefits.”
Do you wish you had more time to volunteer after work? Blue Shield offers 24 hours of paid time off for volunteering. If you’re looking to get involved in your community while working to transform health care, check out our career opportunities and apply today.