UnitedHealthcare’s innovative community investing partnerships to drive health equity

UnitedHealthcare has made a strong commitment to supporting the communities we serve across the country. We are investing in communities to create positive social or environmental outcomes, and our investments are guided by our foundational philosophy that it is our organization’s duty to positively serve society as a whole.

Community investing is a way to give back to the community and to provide additional resources and support to individuals and communities that are economically disadvantaged, under-resourced and/or medically underserved. Improving health and well-being in the communities we serve is a shared priority for our health plans and our community partners, and making investments is one way we do that.

Toward that end, we have implemented a multi-pronged community investment strategy that employs three specific types of investment vehicles: community investment grants, tax credits, and social impact investments.

We also have the opportunity to encourage and influence investment by others in the health sector and to serve as a leader in developing partnerships across the health care industry.  

Through implementation of our three-pronged investment strategy — and in partnership with organizations that share our perseverance, determination, commitment and imagination to support communities — we are making concrete investments to improve communities’ health and well-being.

Outlined below is an overview of each prong of our investment strategy.

Community grants

Community investment grants are provided to organizations that are doing grassroots work to support local communities served by UnitedHealthcare Community & State. Instead of re-creating work that others are doing at the local level, we collaborate with organizations that are already making a social impact and invest in the great work they are doing. Community grants go to nonprofit community-based organizations to address a range of issues, including food insecurity, homelessness, maternal health, and more.

Low-income housing and new markets programs

In partnership with UnitedHealth Group Treasury, UnitedHealthcare leverages federal tax credit programs to support the development of communities. We do this by investing in supportive and affordable housing communities, community health centers and other mixed-use developments to drive community development and economic growth.

We have invested more than $800 million over 12 years in low-income housing projects and more recently we have committed to invest at least $200 million in the Health & Housing Fund, a partnership with Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) and National Affordable Housing Trust (NAHT). SAHF is a nonprofit collaborative of 12 exemplary multistate nonprofit affordable housing providers who own more than 145,000 affordable rental homes. NAHT is a nonprofit Low-Income Housing Tax Credit syndicator, specialized financial intermediary and development advisory firm. Both have a long history of investing in the infrastructure of vulnerable communities and expanding affordable housing.

The Health & Housing Fund differs from other funds in distinct ways. We are conceding a portion of our investment return to provide seed financing for services, and by partnering with SAHF we are tracking the impact that housing is having on the health and well-being of residents. Each project we invest in integrates housing and health care in some way.

Social impact investments

Through our social impact investments we are able to provide financing to organizations that address communities’ health needs with the expectation that they will positively influence social determinants of health and deliver a measurable impact for the community.

We also make social impact investments to support impact-driven organizations that may lack access to capital in the conventional marketplace. This facilitates investments that wouldn’t otherwise be possible and it strengthens communities, increases opportunities, and expands economic growth. Our investments are generally made in the form of loans and provide catalytic and concessionary financing to spark investment in organizations and communities that are vulnerable.

In one example, we have committed a $10 million Social Impact Investment to Maycomb Capital’s Community Outcomes Fund that is supporting public-private partnerships around the country. In Shelby County, the fund is supporting approximately 3,000 children with high-quality full-day pre-K education, where 45% of children live in poverty. The goal of the program is to increase school readiness and long-term academic success. The program measures student and family engagement, growth in pre-literacy skills and kindergarten readiness. If the program achieves its goals, the ROI will be reinvested into other programs.

Leading & investing to make communities healthier

Through this three-pronged community investment strategy, our aim is to support the communities we serve by investing in a range of things, from affordable housing to community health centers to expanding food security programs. Together with our partners, we are making a difference.

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