The year 2020 marked 20 years of our commitment to and investment in communities across the country through our Healthy Generations program.
We believe that targeting specific, preventable health concerns—and addressing the disparities and social drivers that affect them—will help us create a healthier generation of Americans.
The Healthy Generations initiative uses innovative social-mapping technology and analyzes public-health data to provide a snapshot of the major health issues in each state. This allows us to drill down to the zip-code level and target initiatives that positively affect the conditions that matter most. We call this “putting science behind the art of grant making.”
Today, we are emphasizing efforts in the specific areas covered below. Additionally, we’re engaging in partnerships with national and local community nonprofits that are working to support social justice. We are dedicating funding to community partners that will work to help revive and rebuild neighborhoods in the communities we serve across the country, with a focus on improving health and reducing disparities as well as on economic development and job creation.
Consistent access to nutritious food is an essential part of maintaining good health—yet an estimated 54 million Americans will face food insecurity this year. As the most commonly reported unmet social need, food security hits close to home, affecting every community in our nation. That’s why Anthem is leading the way to expand access to nutritious foods and improve health.
The Food Is Medicine program sustains patients through Feeding America food banks. Our recent grant screened 90,000+ individuals for food insecurity. Expansion of this program will improve food-security status, quality of life and health outcomes for over 100,000 patients across additional Anthem markets.
Food Research & Action Center
This year, due in part to the coronavirus pandemic, one in every four kids may not know where the next meal is coming from. And when children face food insecurity, it can result in serious consequences for their overall health and well-being. The Anthem Foundation continues its momentum in combating food insecurity with its latest partner: the Food Research & Action Center, Inc. (FRAC). We recently annouced our $100,000 grant in support of the Promoting Food Security for All Children program, which aims to revise FRAC’s free, online toolkit and help pediatricians and pediatric health providers ramp up sustaintable efforts to address food inseucrity among patients and their families.
Mid-Ohio Food Collective
The Mid-Ohio Food Collective will launch ReadySkill—innovative technology designed to connect users to employers and social-service organizations, creating a network of support by improving professional-development skills. Education programs provided through ReadySkill offer accelerated pathways to certification while promoting the use of wraparound services to eliminate barriers in the social determinants of health.
One in five Americans struggles with diagnosable mental health issues in a given year, yet 56 percent of those individuals will not receive treatment. Acknowledging the interconnectivity of the mind and body, the Anthem Foundation is focused on a holistic, preventive approach to issues of suicide, domestic violence/child abuse, and substance abuse—supporting programs designed to increase access to resources for behavioral health conditions and provide education about the importance of whole-person health.
Mental Health America
The Anthem Foundation partners with Mental Health America (MHA), the nation’s largest independently held behavioral health organization. The national grant funds MHA’s Screening to Supports program, an online platform offering free, anonymous mental health screenings to nearly one million people per year, with analysis of results and customized recommendations for next steps.
Northside Center for Child Development
The Northside Center for Child Development will use funding to upgrade its electronic health records, increasing the capacity and capabilities of the system. This upgrade of dashboard and tracking functions will expand Northside’s ability to address the social drivers of health and racial inequities, ultimately improving the quality of care for underserved populations.
The Anthem Foundation is investing in preventive programs that minimize controllable cardiovascular diseases and strokes, including efforts to reduce smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and stressful and inactive lifestyles. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for about 647,000 deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronary heart disease alone costs the country $219 billion a year in healthcare services, medications and lost productivity.
American Heart Association
Building on a multiyear partnership that has trained more than 10.5 million Americans in Hands-Only CPR, the Anthem Foundation continues its work with the American Heart Association (AHA) to engage, educate and empower communities to use the lifesaving skill. And with Anthem’s support, the AHA is collaborating with clinics and community-based organizations to help those individuals at highest risk for serious illness or complications from COVID-19. Anthem’s investment will support efforts to provide remote monitoring equipment, instructional materials, professional education and community outreach tailored to enhance links between providers and community-based organizations.
Project Angel Heart
Through a grant in Colorado, the Anthem Foundation is partnering with Project Angel Heart to improve the overall health and well-being of those living with cardiovascular disease, thereby decreasing cardiac mortality rates. Project Angel Heart prepares and home-delivers medically tailored meals, at no cost, to Coloradans living with cardiovascular disease. To complement the meals, a dietitian provides nutrition education and counseling to ensure that clients learn healthy eating habits and know how to manage their disease through diet.
Prevention offers the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer. The Anthem Foundation partners with organizations that implement lifesaving cancer-prevention and early-detection programs. More than a million people in the United States get cancer each year. At least a third of all such cases are preventable if people make healthy choices such as not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, keeping active and getting recommended screening tests.
American Cancer Society
The challenges of navigating a pandemic and reckoning with racial injustice are affecting people from all walks of life. Threats to health, financial losses and emotional distress are taking an especially large toll on cancer patients, their families and their caregivers. A new $1 million partnership with the American Cancer Society and Links, Inc., will address cancer disparities by developing the capacity to educate, mobilize and engage diverse communities in cancer-risk reduction. Through this partnership, Health Equity Ambassadors will be trained across the country, and community health promotions will reach 100,000 people.
Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Greater Atlanta
The ENCOREplus program of the Greater Atlanta YWCA focuses on reducing breast cancer mortality and morbidity rates through awareness, education and mammography screenings. The program targets medically underserved and uninsured African American and Latina women.
Healthy Maternal Practices
The Anthem Foundation focuses on programs that encourage and facilitate first-trimester prenatal care and help at-risk mothers commit to behaviors that reduce the numbers of low-birthweight babies. Preterm birth is among the leading causes of newborn death, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Prenatal care is an important part of a healthy pregnancy, and known strategies can lower the risk of an early birth.
March of Dimes
The March of Dimes, the leader in the fight for the health of all moms and babies, and its longtime partner the Anthem Foundation are using a $1.1 million grant to tackle America’s maternal and infant health crisis, which is particularly devastating for communities of color. The partnership aims to close the health-equity gap by addressing the racial disparities and social drivers of health that have disproportionately affected Black mothers, who are more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes and have premature babies compared with all other women. The new grant will support programs in 16 states and Washington D.C. A core component of the grant will focus on health-equity partnerships with more than 20 hospitals, which will offer Breaking through Implicit Bias in Maternal Healthcare training.
Healthy Black Families
A grant in California funds the Healthy Black Families program, which combines free weekly cooking classes with home-delivered healthy groceries for Black women and their families during the third trimester of pregnancy and the first three months postpartum. After giving birth, women can participate in weekly virtual peer-support groups as they adjust to life with their new babies. The goal of the project is to increase the health of pregnant and postpartum Black women and their families.
More than 30 million Americans are living with diabetes, and a third of all obese adults are at risk for developing this condition. The Anthem Foundation invests in programs that stem the spread of diabetes through healthy lifestyle changes and increased physical activity.
Approximately one in five Americans experiences a mental health condition, and the current COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for mental health services. JDRF, the leading global funder of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, and the Anthem Foundation are partnering to launch a new program that will provide fundamental mental health resources to families affected by T1D. By creating behavioral health and psychology resources, JDRF will collaborate with healthcare providers and medical professionals across the United States to provide a range of support and resources to such families.
Gifts of Love, Inc.
A local grant in Connecticut helps Gifts of Love, Inc., feed those suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Lack of access to nutritious foods leads to chronic diet-related diseases, which afflict the poor in dramatically higher numbers than those in the mainstream. Hunger-relief efforts are complemented by several nutrition education programs that help grocery shoppers onsite and encourage healthier food choices.
Healthy Active Lifestyles
The Anthem Foundation supports programs that raise awareness of, educate people about and encourage new behaviors, resulting in healthy, active lifestyles that offer long-term benefits. Regular physical activity helps reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, colon cancer and diabetes. It also improves mental well-being, assists with weight control, reduces depression and anxiety and helps muscles and joints.
The Anthem Foundation’s support of healthy, active lifestyles for individuals with disabilities seeks to reduce healthcare disparities and improve access to care.
American College of Sports Medicine
For more than a decade, the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation have worked together to compile and publish the annual American Fitness Index, a tool to help community stakeholders address social determinants of health to create healthier, more-active communities.
The Fitness Index provides a scientific snapshot of the health and fitness of America’s largest cities. In the #100FitCities video series, the Anthem Foundation has captured the success stories of local officials, community groups and health organizations as they address conditions in the environment that negatively affect overall health and identify ways to increase community heath and activity.
View the video
National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils
Through our partnership with the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, our grant supports a program called the DON’T Quit! Fitness Campaign. It helps fight childhood obesity by recognizing elementary and middle schools for demonstrating innovative ways to introduce physical activity and wellness into their curricula. Each year, select schools across the country are awarded new, state-of-the-art fitness centers for their efforts.