Andrew Dreyfus
Home | Gutsy Leaders | Stories of Gutsy Leaders | Andrew Dreyfus
Andrew Dreyfus

President & CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Recipient of the 2011 CEO Social Leadership Award

You might say that a passion for making a difference in the world is imprinted in Andrew Dreyfus' DNA. His father, Carl Dreyfus was President of Dreyfus, Rice & Getter, a property and casualty insurance firm. When he was elected President of the local Urban League, Carl Dreyfus made insurance from a downtown insurance agency available to inner-city clients—something few white insurance agencies were doing at the time, according to Andrew. Andrew recalls going door-to-door collecting for the United Way with his father at an early age, and from his mother he learned the compassion that inspired him to become a founder of the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, in honor of a friend who had died of cancer.

These are just a harbinger of a lifetime of social justice activities that earned Andrew the 2011 CEO Social Leadership award, presented by Boston Business Journal and Grand Circle Foundation.

A Strong Foundation for Service

Even in the early days of his career, as Editor of the South End News, Andrew demonstrated an interest in healthcare issues. This interest blossomed during his next career move, as a press aide to then-Governor Michael Dukakis. Eventually rising to serve in the Executive Office of Human Services and the Executive Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, he became passionate about developing strategies to broaden access to health care for the disadvantaged.

After his stint with state government, Andrew became President of the Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA), where he led the development of nationally recognized initiatives to expand access to coverage and improve quality and patient safety. It was while he was with MHA that Andrew was approached by a former colleague from the Dukakis administration about heading up the new Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

Drawing on his earlier efforts to broaden access to coverage, Andrew was instrumental in creating the Roadmap to Coverage, drafted in response to the growing number of uninsured people in the state. The Roadmap to Coverage helped prompt local lawmakers to address this growing problem, ultimately leading to the universal health care reform law adopted by Massachusetts in 2006. This law ultimately served as a model for the national plan.

As if making healthcare coverage accessible even to the most vulnerable wasn't enough, Andrew also encouraged his associates at the Foundation to become active in community service. Under his administration, the Catalyst Fund was created to award grants to help organizations expand access to health care within the state. The Catalyst Fund is funded by donations from associates, who also make the decisions about who receives grants. Since its inception in 2002, some 171 community-based organizations, health centers, clinics, and health advocacy groups have benefited from $760,000 in total grants from the fund.

From the Foundation, Andrew went on to serve for five years as Executive Vice President of Health Care Services for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, continuing to fight for improved health care for the citizens of the state. In September 2010, he was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization.

Inspiring a Passion for Service

As the provider of health insurance to 3 million people in Massachusetts—nearly half the state—Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has a long history of community involvement, and the organization considers social responsibility to be at the core of its corporate culture. In his role as President and CEO, Andrew has continued to build on that history.

For example, employees of the organization receive paid time off throughout the year to volunteer during regularly scheduled work hours, and additional time off for volunteering is awarded to full-time and part-time associates who are selected for the BlueCrew, a special volunteer program.

Senior leaders are also encouraged to participate in community outreach. In addition to serving on the boards of more than 60 nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts, members of the Senior Leadership Council regularly serve as sponsors for community events for associates, and many have been instrumental in founding important healthcare initiatives.

Andrew himself personally gives back even beyond the organization he leads. He continues to devote time, leadership, and resources to the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, and he has co-chaired fundraising events on behalf of a number of healthcare-related nonprofits. Not surprisingly, given his early exposure to service, he personally led Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts' United Way drive from 2005 to 2009.

About the CEO Social Leadership Award

In 2007, Grand Circle Foundation co-chairs Harriet and Alan Lewis created the Grand Circle Foundation CEO Social Leadership Award, to recognize local business CEOs who show outstanding dedication to corporate citizenship and philanthropy. The $25,000 annual prize furnished by Grand Circle Foundation must be used by honorees to help make a difference—either for a charity or their own social initiative.

On September 9, 2011, Boston Business Journal sponsored its annual Corporate Citizenship Summit, an event that honors charitable contributors, provides information on initiating or sustaining a philanthropic mission, and offers opportunities for networking and discussion. We are pleased to have been a partner in presenting Andrew with this award at the event, in honor of the contributions he has made toward improving healthcare in Massachusetts and making it more widely available to those who otherwise might not be able to afford it.

Featured in our September 2011 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.