UnitedHealthcare is awarding $2.25 million in Empowering Health grants to 13 community-based organizations in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia to expand access to care and address the social determinants of health for uninsured individuals and underserved communities.
In total, UnitedHealthcare is donating $11.4 million through Empowering Health grants across 18 states and the District of Columbia. The grants will assist individuals and families experiencing challenges from food insecurity, social isolation and behavioral health issues, and support local health promotion and health literacy efforts.
Grant recipients in the Mid-Atlantic include:
District of Columbia
- Bread for the City – $275,000 to expand the Southeast D.C. grocery delivery service, purchase grocery carts for the Southeast Food Pantry and purchase a new vehicle for food delivery and mobile market use.
- D.C. Central Kitchen – $275,000 to support nutrition education and healthy food awareness in Washington, D.C., Public Schools.
- Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) – $200,000 to support CAFB’s Curbside Groceries truck in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 8, including new outreach to senior communities.
- DC Greens – $45,000 to support a children’s pilot of the Produce Prescription program to improve the nutritional status of food insecure families with children ages 6 to 10 diagnosed with a BMI percentile greater than 85%.
- Maryland Food Bank – $255,000 to increase education about the Supporting Wellness at Pantries nutrition program and expand it to more food bank partners, including support for equipment, personnel and other activities.
- CASA – $150,000 to support COVID-19 vaccine and health education outreach within immigrant, Latino and working-class communities by community health workers and health promoters.
- Springboard Community Services – $95,000 to support public campaigns that normalize mental health services, particularly among communities that have stigmatized treatment.
- Community Crisis Services – $55,000 to provide mental health first-aid training to first responders and other community members.
- Urban Baby Beginnings – $250,000 to support training, certification, mentoring and collaboration for community-based doulas of color to complement clinical services for uninsured and underinsured women of color.
- Capital Area Food Bank – $225,000 to start a food pharmacy for pregnant women, new mothers and children up to 3 years old in Northern Virginia.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Virginia – $185,000 to develop a new program for older adults to address depression, promote healthy lifestyles and improve wellness; and to support the NAMI Llama and NAMI Talks Hero’s Journey educational series as a platform for discussions about mental health.
- Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation – $95,000 to implement the Healthy Lifestyles program to train mentors of kids ages 9 to 14 at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula and Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia on topics such as healthy nutritional habits and the importance of physical fitness and overall well-being.
- St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation – $95,000 to support a food pharmacy program coordinator for the Norfolk Food Ecosystem project.
- Virginia Fresh Match – $50,000 to help integrate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program produce incentives with low-capacity, low-technology sellers such as farm stands, rural grocery stores and immigrant-owned convenience stores.
“Social and economic factors have a profound impact on achieving and maintaining good health,” said Joe Ochipinti, CEO, UnitedHealthcare – Mid-Atlantic. “Through Empowering Health grants, we’re working with local organizations to provide residents in the Mid-Atlantic region with greater access to essential resources in high-risk and high-need communities so they can live healthier lives.”
Good health encompasses more than simply visiting a doctor’s office. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, nearly 80% of what influences a person’s health relates to nonmedical issues, such as food, housing, transportation and the financial means to pay for basic daily needs. And for so many, the global pandemic has caused additional social and economic challenges that continue to affect healthy behaviors and exacerbate health disparities.
Since launching its Empowering Health commitment in 2018, UnitedHealthcare has now invested more than $40 million in Empowering Health grants reaching more than 6 million people through partnerships with community-based organizations in 29 states.
UnitedHealth Group, including UnitedHealthcare and Optum, and its affiliated companies, is committed to reducing health disparities and building healthier communities by supporting programs to improve access to care and address key determinants of health. In the Mid-Atlantic region this includes more than $11.9 million in contributions from 2018-2020 representing its businesses, foundations and employees.
Additionally, UnitedHealth Group has invested more than $500 million in affordable housing communities since 2011, partnered with food banks and meal-delivery services, and in 2019 joined with the American Medical Association to standardize how social determinants of health data is collected and used to create more holistic care plans.