Why one local leader has a passion to serve + how to get involved

This post originally appeared in partnership with Bham Now.


Dow Briggs, United Way
Dr. Dow Briggs is excited to support United Way. (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama)

Dr. Dow Briggs has been a loyal volunteer for a variety of local organizations for many years. This year, he’s taking it to a new level as United Way of Central Alabama’s (UWCA) annual campaign chair. Read on to get to know Dr. Briggs and get a look into his passion for helping people.

Dr. Dow Briggs believes he was put on this earth to help people

As Executive Vice President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Dr. Briggs has been involved with United Way for more than 10 years and the incredible impact of UWCA is a huge part of what has kept him coming back to serve.

“Collective impact is such an important and effective strategy, and UWCA is doing tangible work. I believe I’m here on this earth, and went into medicine, to help people and that’s what United Way does.”

Dr. Dow Briggs, UWCA Campaign Chair, Executive Vice President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Learn more about the annual campaign and what organizations it’s helping.

Dr. Briggs and United Way go way back

Dow Briggs, United Way
A longtime volunteer. (United Way of Central Alabama)

Dr. Briggs went into medicine with a goal of serving others. He stepped away from patient care about 10 years ago and said it’s no coincidence that that’s when he got heavily involved with United Way.

“I took care of people as a physician and working with United Way feels very similar.”

Dr. Dow Briggs, UWCA Campaign Chair

Through the years, he’s been deeply involved in UWCA committees and initiatives, serving in special roles including:

  • First Chair of the United Way Bold Goals Coalition’s health initiative
  • A long-standing member of UWCA’s Board of Directors
  • Volunteer for Meals on Wheels

Dr. Briggs said that serving as campaign chair is a pinnacle for him, both career-wise and personally.

The pandemic has spotlighted challenges

Dow Briggs, United Way
Dow Briggs at the campaign kickoff on September 7. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

When I asked Dr. Briggs what challenges he’s currently seeing in our community, he said the pandemic really shined a light on areas that were already struggling and now have even bigger needs.

“When you look at what’s been going on in the world over the last three years, we’ve had an amazing amount of change. I think most of the world is still looking for solid footing. United Way is one of those organizations that can help provide that. So, my goal is to work as hard as we can to create the biggest scale of reach for these services.”

Dr. Dow Briggs, UWCA Campaign Chair

What makes United Way an organization that is so successful at providing that help?

“The thing I love most about United Way is that they go out into the communities to sit down with the leaders and see what they need. That’s the starting point for everything that they do. I think that’s one of the reasons they’ve been so successful for 100 years.”

Dr. Dow Briggs, UWCA Campaign Chair

This is a full circle moment for Dr. Briggs

Dow Briggs, United Way
From volunteering through his company to encouraging others to do the same. (United Way of Central Alabama)

When Dr. Briggs first started working at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, United Way was already a longtime partner and an integral part of what they do. Now, being able to serve on the campaign side, encouraging different companies to get involved is even more of an honor.

The most exciting part of all of this for him is talking about the amazing work that the agencies are doing in our six-county area.

“Part of us being human beings is that when we reach our own limitations, we struggle to reach out. We’ve all been there, when life takes an unexpected turn. UWCA is one of those spots where when you are in trouble, you can go there for help. It’s an easy place to participate with lots of opportunities.”

Dr. Dow Briggs, UWCA Campaign Chair


Written by Callie Puryear