The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation has opened nominations for the 2013 Angel Award with a deadline of April 5. The award, presented annually, recognizes Louisianians who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the state’s most at-risk children. This year, up to eight Louisiana angels will be selected and will receive grants of $20,000 each for their chosen 501(c)(3) organizations, a company news release said.

In the course of its 19 years, the Angel Award program has helped to identify and honor 143 outstanding individuals and has given $1.4 million to nonprofit organizations on behalf of the honorees.

Past nominees have come from all walks of life and ranged in age from 17 to 93. What they all had in common was their unselfish contribution of time and energy to improve the welfare of needy children in their communities, the release said.

An online nomination form and more details on the program are available at the Blue Cross website, http://www.bcb

Nomination packets are also available by calling toll-free (888) 219-BLUE ((888) 219-2583) or emailing Supplemental information should be sent in support of the nomination, including testimonial letters, brochures, news articles, photos and videos. Materials cannot be returned.

A nominee may be recognized for work performed individually or through churches, schools or civic organizations, but a group cannot be nominated. The volunteer work must have been performed in the state of Louisiana with Louisiana children as the primary beneficiaries. The volunteer effort can be focused on enhancing any aspect of a child’s life, including physical, emotional, creative and spiritual. Individuals who are paid for their services are eligible, but their efforts must be considered to go above and beyond their job descriptions. Work done on work-release time and/or for student course credit also may be considered.

A selection committee made up of past Angel Award recipients will choose this year’s honorees.