Women of Influence: C.J. Moore – Public Affairs

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C.J. Moore, spokeswoman for Kaiser Permanente. C.J. Moore, behind-the-scenes activist. C.J. Moore, lifelong volunteer. Being immersed in her community was practically a birthright.

“My mother had us involved when we were kids. She finally stopped delivering Meals on Wheels last year at the age of 81!” Moore said. “We’ve been volunteers all our lives. It’s something you just know you need to do. My life is good and I need to give back to those whose lives aren’t as good as mine.”

Kaiser Permanente, a network health care model with community-based physicians and providers instead of operating clinics and hospitals, is basically an HMO. Part of Moore’s job includes community relations and encouraging employees to volunteer on community boards.

“Well, she’s 20 years older than me and I have to run to keep up with her. She works nonstop; she’s constantly on the go,” said Pamela Burnelis, executive assistant and office manager for Kaiser. “She’s very enthusiastic, optimistic and energetic. She’s our cheerleader; she gets us to volunteer and do things for the community.”

Moore sits on the board for SET of Colorado Springs, which equips free health care clinics for the indigent. “SET provides health care clinics at the Marion House soup kitchen and provides family clinics for people who are underinsured or uninsured,” she said. “They are truly free clinics. If you don’t have any money, you don’t have to pay. Trying to take care of people who don’t have health care is how we give back to the community.”

Moore is involved with the Chancellor’s Leadership Class Community Board, a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs panel for students who have applied for and have been selected to learn about leadership and volunteerism. About 40 kids, nearly all of them receiving a scholarship, are in the program now.

Moore mentored two of them. This year, the chancellor’s board sponsored 10 need-based nursing scholarships. “I’m there because I think getting involved with higher education in your community is very, very important,” she said. “We want to keep them in school. Most of these nursing students are older and married and work several jobs in addition to going to school.”

Moore sits on the board for the Independence Community Partnership, a fund started by The Independent. The fund provides fledgling nonprofits with seed grant money, along with in-kind help with Web sites and other business needs, and publicity through the newspaper. Moore teaches the nonprofits how to write news releases and pitch stories to the media, a subject she knows a little something about.

Colorado Springs has close to 700 nonprofits, ranging from gigantic to tiny. Many are missing opportunities because of ignorance, she said. “Let’s face it, government money has dried up. If we want these services, we’ve got to fund them,” Moore said. “If you’re a big business and you’re making money and you’re in the community, you want to attract good employees who are glad to work for you. It’s being a good corporate citizen that creates such a great climate.”

Moore had a part in founding the Volunteer Center of the Pikes Peak Region Advisory Council and the Colorado Springs Corporate Citizenship Program. “She’s got her hands in everything,” Burnelis said. “It’s hard to pinpoint just one thing that she cares about. If she sees a need, she will try to fill that need.”

The Center for Nonprofit Excellence is an organization that works with local nonprofits and helps them acquire a good board of directors, learn to write grants or ask for contributions from foundations, operate efficiently and write financial statements. The Volunteer Center of the Pikes Peak Region acts as a clearing house for all the nonprofits that need volunteers.

Moore is chairwoman of Partners in Philanthropy, which recognizes five donors annually. She is involved with Race for the Cure, a group devoted to raising money for breast cancer research, as well as the American Heart Association. A few years ago, her husband of 34 years died of a massive heart attack.

But Moore isn’t one to feel sorry for herself. She keeps busy by helping others and promoting causes.

The lack of funding for the El Paso County Health Department is a sore spot. “Colorado is the lowest in funding for public health in the country. People don’t realize how much the county health department does-there would be nobody to inspect restaurants or make sure our water is pure. And God forbid we have a huge outbreak of West Nile,” she said. “There are a tremendous amount of indigents who need health care. [The health department] used to give immunizations. We went when I was a kid.

“The health department used to offer prenatal care for women who don’t yet have Medicaid. Now, women will show up in labor, and nine times out of 10 the baby will need neonatal care, at a cost of $5,000 a day. It is so short-sighted.”

Moore admires child advocate Leslie Cook. “She is an advocate for youth in our community and giving kids as much a chance as she can to succeed. She is absolutely wonderful,” Moore said.

She also venerates former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace. “While she was mayor, we had vision in this community. We’re lacking some vision right now,” Moore said. “It’s the things that draw us all together. It’s good libraries, it’s flowerbeds in the medians, it’s Uncle Wilbur’s fountain-things that draw us downtown. That’s the heart of us. It’s not just roads.”

Although helping others has always been in her blood, Moore didn’t start out in health care. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Auburn University and did post-graduate work in adult education at Cal State in Long Beach.

While her late husband, who was in the Army, was stationed in Washington, D.C., Moore was a health care reporter for Faulkner & Gray. Her interest in the field blossomed there, in an office three blocks from the White House.

Kaiser Permanente contracts with about 500 primary care doctors and specialists in the area. With about 8.5 million members (and about 10,000 employees), Kaiser is the oldest nonprofit health maintenance company in the country.

Moore wrote the first Kaiser network model plan. “Members have to negotiate the system by themselves,” she said. “We thought we needed to help tell them what to do and where the hospitals are. Sort of a ‘how to use your health plan.'”

Moore has two children: Matthew, 34, who is an Associated Press news editor in Stockholm, Sweden; and Meighan, 28, who is an epidemiologist in Tuscon.

“I raised two gypsies. They were in 11 different schools between kindergarten and high school,” she said. “My husband was in Korea for 16 months and Germany for six years. We lived coast to coast and many points in between. It was wonderful; we loved it.”