By Bill Coffin
Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) and its philanthropic arm, the Aetna Foundation, awarded $19.2 million in 2011 to nonprofit organizations working to improve people’s health, particularly those from underserved populations, and to increase their access to high-quality health care. Much of the funding was directed at reversing the obesity epidemic in adults and children, promoting racial and ethnic health equity and advancing integrated health care and care coordination. In addition, grants were made to programs addressing veterans’ needs, diversity and inclusion and community development.
Aetna employees, retirees and directors donated an additional $5.5 million in 2011 through the company's matching gift program, bringing combined giving in communities where Aetna employees and customers live and work to $24.7 million. Additionally, Aetna’s employees generously volunteered nearly 340,000 hours of their personal time and talents in 2011.
Programs receiving grants include those that make fresh fruits and vegetables available in food deserts, offer prenatal care to women at high risk of premature birth, and investigate ways to enhance primary care that puts the patient’s needs first.
In 2011, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation directed $4.8 million in the fight against obesity, $3.2 million to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care, and $2.5 million to promote integrated health care and care coordination in primary care settings.
Complementing the grant making by Aetna and the Aetna Foundation was the commitment by thousands of Aetna employees to encourage healthy lifestyles by donating their time to company-sponsored volunteer efforts or individual initiatives.
The Aetna Foundation is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed more than $413 million in grants and sponsorships, including $19.2 million awarded in 2011. In addition, Aetna employees have volunteered more than 2.6 million hours since 2003 to promote wellness, health and access to health care. Aetna’s current efforts are focused on addressing the rising rate of adult and childhood obesity in the U.S.; promoting racial and ethnic equity in health and health care; and advancing integrated health care.
Originally published on LifeHealthPro.com