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Corporate Responsibility Updated: 02 Nov 2018

Project Blue Elf’s impact reaches milestone 20,000 students on its five year anniversary

For half a decade, the BBVA Compass Foundation's Project Blue Elf campaign has created opportunities for a total of more than 20,000 students across the country during its existence, filling them with holiday joy and handing out toys during a time of giving.

Project Blue Elf, the foundation’s signature holiday initiative, wrapped up its fifth anniversary last week and reached more than 5,500 students in 30 markets across the bank’s footprint. The campaign brought toys, cookies and smiles to kids in 32 different elementary schools, with most students coming from low- to moderate-income backgrounds.

The holidays are a special time for these kids.

“It’s been an impactful five years of Project Blue Elf, in both number of students we’ve reached and the emotional responses we’ve seen,” said BBVA Compass Foundation President Reymundo Ocañas. “The holidays are a special time for these kids, and for some of them, these are the only toys they will get this season. This initiative started out as one of the multiple ways we invest in the communities we serve, and it has grown substantially into one of the most powerful undertakings we do each year.”

For the project’s 2017 campaign, each assembly-style event at selected schools consisted of layer after layer of surprises. To start each event, students were told they would receive $25 Young Savers account vouchers to start their own savings account.

After a reading of “The Gingerbread Man Story”, students were then given cookies to decorate and eat for a sweet treat that was disguised as the pinnacle of the event. However, after building up the holiday spirit with each gift, BBVA Compass volunteers, as in years past, surprised students with a special toy unveiling. Students were given one toy each to take home, which included board games, figurines, and colorful clay dough sets.

Always expanding, Project Blue Elf reached markets across the bank’s footprint for the first time this year, including South Florida.

These kids have gone through so much this year.

“The Miami team is very engaged with the community and our volunteers are not new to this, but quite frankly I've never seen them like this before,” said BBVA Compass Miami Volunteer Chapter President Paolo Casabone. “These kids have gone through so much this year, especially with Hurricane Irma coming through a few months ago. To give them a reason to smile and a high note to end the year on gives bank volunteers such a warm and beautiful feeling.”

In years past, Project Blue Elf has incorporated a variety of activities, including financial education lessons for students, but has always ended with the surprise toy donation. Notable figures have also participated in select events, including bank brand ambassadors James Harden and Bruce Bowen, and basketball legend Robert Horry who also participated in this year’s festivities in Houston.

Five Years of Project Blue Elf – By the numbers:

  • 20,547 – students served in low- to moderate-income communities
  • 2,665 – BBVA Compass volunteers who have participated in Project Blue Elf
  • 112 – Schools visited

Project Blue Elf 2017 – By the numbers:

  • 5,510 – toys given to the same amount of students
  • 798 – BBVA Compass volunteers serving as “Blue Elves”
  • 32 – Project Blue Elf events held
  • 30 – Markets served