The article headlined "WellPoint gets charitable" (Nov. 10, p. 64) was useful and informative. However, the headline might incorrectly lead readers to believe the California Endowment was created as a result of WellPoint's generosity.
In 1996 WellPoint, a for-profit subsidiary of not-for-profit Blue Cross of California, merged with Blue Cross into a single for-profit corporation. When a not-for-profit converts, California law requires the not-for-profit's assets be dedicated to a charitable purpose similar to the original not-for-profit. In this case, the California Department of Corporations required Blue Cross to distribute all of its assets to two newly created charitable healthcare foundations, one of which was California Endowment. These foundations did not result from WellPoint's generosity. They were required by law.
Similarly, the accompanying list, "WellPoint's California Endowment grants," carried a misleading headline. WellPoint does not in any way dictate which organizations receive grants or how much they get. From the time of their creation, the two foundations were required to be independent of WellPoint and had missions and goals that were established as part of the Department of Corporations proceedings. Under federal law, the foundations also are required to make a certain amount of grants each year.
Projects manager, West Coast regional office