Press Releases

Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Highmark and its subsidiaries' investment in Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network's efforts to transform mid-city neighborhood to top $1.8 million

  • Grant to add $900,000 to 12-year investment

Erie, Pa. (June 1, 2023) — Today officials from the Highmark Health enterprise representing Highmark Inc. and United Concordia Dental (UCD), along with the Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network (SSJNN), gathered to announce a major grant from UCD, a subsidiary of Highmark Inc., to help the sisters continue their transformation of a midtown neighborhood.

United Concordia Dental, a wholly owned subsidiary of Highmark Inc., made a $900,000 commitment through Pennsylvania’s Neighborhood Partnership Program to continue the work the SSJNN started six years ago in transforming the neighborhood between West 12th and West 26th, from Cranberry to Elm Street. The grant will bring the enterprise’s 12-year total investment to $1.8 million. HM Health Insurance Company, part of Highmark, previously awarded $900,000 to the SSJNN over a period of six years for the neighborhood transformation program. In addition, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Allegheny Health Network, AHN Saint Vincent and other Highmark-affiliated entities have supported the SSJNN in its other programs.

Investments like this informed and inspired the creation and introduction of our Highmark Bright Blue Futures program.  The new SSJNN investment is part of the program, which is designed to ensure healthier, brighter, stronger futures for all, and the program focuses on improving equitable access to care, quality of life, and economic resilience in the communities the enterprise serves. Specifically, this program aims to improve outcomes in two critical areas: Community Health and Community and Economic Resilience through corporate giving and employee volunteerism.  

“Highmark has a strong history of community involvement,” said Kenya Boswell, senior vice president of Community Affairs for Highmark. “We value partnerships with impactful organizations like the Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network, as we believe working together is critical to achieving lasting positive outcomes. Grants like the one today demonstrate our strategy of Highmark Bright Blue Futures in action.”

This funding will enable the SSJNN to purchase and remove blighted property and replace it with greenspace, to purchase and renovate blighted homes for use in their Genesis homeownership program for neighborhood residents, to complete multiple façade improvements annually, and to install public art in the neighborhood.

The announcement, held on the front porch of Erie couple Anil and Dirpa Pradhan on the 300-block of West 17th Street, detailed the story of how the SSJNN’s Genesis Home Buying Program helped the couple to own their own home.

Both were refugees from Bhutan, having escaped cultural violence there with their families. They spent over 25 years in a refugee camp in Nepal before immigrating to the United States in January of 2016.

The SSJNN met the Pradhans in October 2016 when the couple asked to be placed on the waiting list for families to move into the SSJNN’s Genesis Home Buying program. In April 2018, an opening became available, and the couple moved into one of the homes the SSJNN had renovated for a Genesis family to purchase. In September 2020, thanks to the Genesis program, they were able to purchase the home.

Since 2016, the sisters have removed six blighted properties and replaced them with green space, completed nearly 60 façade improvements, and installed six pieces of public art in the neighborhood. The Genesis program, which prepares families for first-time home ownership, has helped six families toward home ownership. This was accomplished with grants from Highmark, AHN Saint Vincent and several other community organizations. The United Concordia grant will keep the momentum moving forward for this transformation from now until 2029.

“The rebuilding of our city’s older, inner-city neighborhoods is crucial to ensure the revitalization and reinvestment in our city and its future,” said Heather May Caspar, SSJNN's executive director. “We are grateful to Highmark and United Concordia, for helping us to revitalize homes that remain an asset to the neighborhood and build stability for new families.”

For more information, visit Highmark Bright Blue Futures.

About Highmark Inc.

One of America's leading health insurance organizations and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Highmark Inc. (the Health Plan) and its affiliated health plans (collectively, the Health Plans) work passionately to deliver high-quality, accessible, understandable, and affordable experiences, outcomes, and solutions to customers. Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates proudly cover the insurance needs of approximately 7 million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and West Virginia. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance and other related businesses. For more information, visit 

About United Concordia Dental
United Concordia Dental is a leading national dental solutions partner focused on providing access to high-quality, affordable dental care. Headquartered in Camp Hill, Pa., the company has more than 9.3 million members, one of the nation's largest dentist networks, an AM Best “A” (Excellent) financial strength rating and licensed entities in all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. United Concordia is committed to providing remarkable experiences to our customers, with a focus on enhancing their total health. For more information about United Concordia, visit 

For more information, contact

Monica Lewis
Highmark Health