Many factors affect someone’s health and well-being — things like access to healthy food, affordable housing and the environment where a person lives may make a big difference. In fact, 80 percent of what influences a person’s health has nothing to do with clinical care. When outside factors, like a global pandemic, are thrown into the mix – it may be detrimental for an already vulnerable population.
To help ease the burden and aid in recovery from the effects of the pandemic, UnitedHealthcare is donating $12.3 million through Empowering Health grants to community-based organizations across 21 states. More than half ($6.3 million) of the grants will help organizations increase their capacity to fight COVID-19 and support impacted communities. The Empowering Health commitment focuses on expanding access to care and addressing the social determinants of health for those in underserved communities.
“The COVID-19 public health emergency has compounded the many challenges faced by the nation’s most vulnerable residents,” said Kirsten Gorsuch, senior vice president of Communications and Social Responsibility at UnitedHealthcare. “Our support of these organizations through the UnitedHealthcare Empowering Health commitment will help provide critical aid and resources to the communities that need it the most.”
The grants will help address some of the most urgent needs resulting from COVID-19, including food insecurity, social isolation and behavioral health issues. Nonprofit organizations receiving those grants include:
- Second Harvest Heartland, a food bank serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, which will provide emergency food boxes and prepared meals to low-income and food insecure families in Minnesota
- Other community-based food banks, including Atlanta Community Food Bank, Kansas Food Bank, Houston Food Bank and South Plains Food Bank
- Veterans One-Stop Center, to help support peer-to-peer programs and classes that address isolation and veteran suicide prevention
- Postpartum Resource Center of New York, which helps address perinatal mood and anxiety disorders in a coordinated, comprehensive, community-wide manner, as well as through a statewide helpline
- House of Ruth Maryland, which helps give support to intimate partner violence (IPV) victims through chatlines and outreach staff
- Ohio Suicide Prevention Coalition, which provides virtual and in-person mental health first aid training and signs of suicide training for children and staff at youth-serving organizations.
- Long Island Cares, to purchase food to help meet increased demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic
The Empowering Health grants are part of UnitedHealth Group’s investment of over $100 million to fight COVID-19 and support impacted communities. Over the last three months, the funding has helped communities in need, protected the health care workforce and helped people and clinicians cope with stress and anxiety from the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic challenges.
Find out more about UnitedHealthcare’s commitment to Empowering Health.