The importance of addressing health disparities and social determinants of health (SDOH) is more critical than ever as we continue to grapple with the impact of COVID-19.
It is in that context that we’re pleased to highlight a new partnership between UnitedHealth Group and Maycomb Capital’s Community Outcomes Fund, which aligns government spending with positive health outcomes and improved SDOH in underserved communities. UnitedHealth Group has committed $10M to the Fund, which engages with local government, civic leaders and service providers to expand and enhance health, human service and education programs.
The Fund provides flexible, mission-driven capital to human services providers that enables government to align its dollars with community impact. These public-private partnerships build transparency and accountability into the process of funding human services. The Fund works with service providers and state and local governments to help expand access to early childhood interventions, employment services and other vital programs that support access to economic opportunity and a healthier future. It is our shared commitment to help people live healthier lives and make the health system work better for everyone that brought Maycomb Capital and UnitedHealth Group into this partnership.
Funding timely projects during COVID-19
In a recent project, the Community Outcomes Fund partnered with the City of Memphis, Tennessee’s Shelby County, First 8 Memphis and the Urban Child Institute to finance 1,000 seats of high-quality pre-K. The funding is being used to support a curriculum that aligns with local standards, a strong student-teacher ratio that meets best practices and wraparound services for every student and their family. As a result of this program, participating students have demonstrated improved pre-literacy skills, higher engagement and increased attendance rates. And research shows that students who get a strong early education are more likely to be healthier and have more long-term success.
Pre-K programs like the one in Shelby County are critical, especially in the midst of COVID-19. In the current school year, these organizational partnerships worked to emphasize ongoing family support and student engagement to help ensure continued academic growth for the students, as well as critical support for families that might be struggling to meet basic needs.
Combining evidence-based programs with strategic financial backing
Our partnership between the Community Outcomes Fund and UnitedHealth Group reflects a multi-year commitment to collaboration and investment. We are proud to demonstrate how public-private partnerships can work outside of brick-and-mortar infrastructure, where it has long been used to bring the scale and risk appetite of private capital to bear in service of community development. And we are committed to investing in the people who live in underserved communities.
The strength of this partnership goes beyond a financial commitment. We believe that the fund’s expertise and approach to outcomes financing, combined with UnitedHealth Group’s data and capital, will help accelerate this work. We look forward to engaging with community leaders, service providers and local and state government to support efforts that improve SDOH for individuals across the nation. And as we build each project, we will note challenges and highlight positive outcomes so that we can refine and share program models with stakeholders to help implement high-quality services on a wider scale — all with the end goal of expanding access to economic opportunity and long-term well-being to those in our country who are too often overlooked.