Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community

photo of people walking fo the highmark walk event

Making A Difference, One Step at A Time

The Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community, founded in 2003, is an annual fundraising walk that benefits local health and human service agencies, making a difference, one step at a time.

The primary goal of the walk is to provide local health and human service agencies in the communities of Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Erie, Lehigh Valley (Allentown), Laurel Highlands (Johnstown/Altoona), northeastern Pennsylvania (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre), and Wilmington, Delaware, with opportunities to fundraise for their individual missions. 

Since its inception, more than 500 health & human service nonprofit organizations have raised more than $17 million through the Walk for a Healthy Community. Highmark coordinates the events and underwrites all costs. One hundred percent of the funds raised go directly to the participating organizations.

Visit the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community site for more information.

The following organizations reflect how we supported Community Health and Programs in 2022.

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

$22,000 Funds Raise in 2022 | Southwest Pennsylvania

An alarming number of families across the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank's 11-county service area spend time worrying about where their next meal is coming from, and struggle to get access to nutritious, affordable items that will sustain them. The region has a food insecurity rate of 11.2%, with a food insecure population of over 267,870 people.

The Food Bank makes a significant impact on the communities it serves by providing people with the foods they want and need most and reducing food insecurity through local outreach and partnerships. The Food Bank participates annually in the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community to create an opportunity for our partner food pantries to share their impact with a broader group, and raise much-needed funds to support their work on the neighborhood level. All funds raised go towards purchasing food items to serve families who seek food assistance from local organizations.

Highmark employees lend a hand each year to represent the Food Bank’s mission at the Highmark Walk because they know that to foster happy, healthy, and successful communities, families need the essential, everyday resources to survive and thrive.

St. Martin Center, Inc.

$7,000 Funds Raise in 2022 | Northwest Pennsylvania

Community members of all ages and walks of life — from senior citizens to students, veterans and families — need support systems to help them pursue their long-term goals, and St. Martin Center, Inc. is a crisis center in Erie, Pa. that provides emergency services and resources for skill building and goal achievement.

The Center offers solutions to meet families’ basic emergency needs, including food and assistance with rent, utilities, life-sustaining prescriptions, transportation and clothing. Financial literacy counseling, basic budget counseling and home buying education are additional services the Center provides to help community members build skills in critical areas and accomplish their personal and professional goals. Additionally, St. Martin’s PA WORKWEAR program provides clothing to men for job interviews and employment opportunities, so they can dress for success and feel confident in their professional pursuits.

Last year, with the support of its resources and services, St. Martin Center, Inc. provided financial assistance to 286 people, educated 276 children and served nearly 3,730 individuals through its food pantry.

As a participant of the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community, the Center has been able to enhance regional awareness of its mission, expand its resources and grow in its work with the communities it serves.

Girl coloring

Caitlin’s Smiles

$20,000 Funds Raise in 2022 | Central Pennsylvania & Lehigh Valley

Caitlin’s Smiles, based out of Harrisburg, Pa., another participating organization in the Highmark Walk, was founded as a tribute to Caitlin Mary Hornung, who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at the age of four. Caitlin found joy in creating and sharing art with others, despite her long and painful battle with cancer.

Caitlin’s Smiles is dedicated to spreading joy and cultivating confidence and feelings of self-worth in pediatric patients experiencing serious health challenges. Through participating in arts and crafts activities, including Bags of Smiles, individual craft kits, coping kits and Camp-in-a-Bag, children not only smile more and have something to look forward to outside of the daily struggles they endure in the hospital, but they’re also given the opportunity to explore creative outlets and express themselves and their emotions through art.

Arts and crafts packages are created by the organization’s volunteers and shipped or personally delivered to medical facilities to be distributed to staff and children, bringing joy to the medical staff and children’s families and contributes to reduced anxiety and feelings of gratitude for all community members working to make a difference in the lives of the patients and their families.

A testament to its reach in hospitals across the region, in 2022, Caitlin’s Smiles delivered 11,902 bags of smiles to children, 83,900 craft kits, 19,393 coping kits and 10,671 toys. Through continued support from passionate volunteers and partners, the organization will bring more smiles to the faces of children and families for years to come.

Friendship House

$77,000 Funds Raise in 2022 | Delaware

At Friendship House, everyone has a place to call home. This Delaware organization, which has participated in the Highmark Walk for the past seven years, provides loving, supportive communities to people facing homelessness.

An annual point-in-time count of people experiencing homelessness in Delaware in 2022 revealed that twice as many people were unhoused in the state last year compared to 2020. This reality is due in large part to the impact of COVID-19 on socioeconomic outcomes, and on the accessibility of healthcare and housing support for vulnerable populations.

Friendship House’s clothing banks, empowerment centers and transitional housing programs have filled gaps across the state for individuals who are houseless, homeless and searching for community supports and resources to get back on their feet.

For over 35 years, Friendship House has served individuals and families in Delaware with the support of its volunteers, donors and community partners like Highmark.

In the past three years, over 1,500 people have participated in the Highmark Walk to support Friendship House’s lifesaving and life-changing programs. Highmark is honored to work with such an impactful organization to continue growing its charitable footprint in Delaware and beyond.