Funding is part of UnitedHealthcare’s $12.3 million in Empowering Health grants focused on expanding access to care and addressing the social determinants of health for people in underserved communities
UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is awarding $1 million in Empowering Health grants to six community-based organizations in Georgia to expand access to care and address the social determinants of health for uninsured individuals and underserved communities.
In total, UnitedHealthcare is donating $12.3 million through Empowering Health grants across 21 states. UnitedHealthcare launched its Empowering Health commitment in 2018.
More than half of the Empowering Health grants will help organizations increase their capacity to fight COVID-19 and support impacted communities. These grants will assist individuals and families experiencing challenges from social distancing, food insecurity, social isolation and behavioral health issues, which are among the most urgent needs resulting from the pandemic.
Grant recipients in Georgia include:
- Atlanta Community Food Bank in Gwinnett County and Metro Atlanta — $250,000 to purchase emergency food to address the increased need during the pandemic, and to launch its first community food center, which is a direct service pantry providing healthy food to people in food deserts and connecting them with nutrition benefits.
- Atlanta Regional Commission in Atlanta and Augusta — $200,000 to expand the Behavioral Health Coaching program to provide behavioral health assessments, daily individual support, crisis management and group support for seniors with low incomes and adults with disabilities.
- Open Hand Atlanta in Atlanta, Albany, Tifton and Waycross — $175,000 to expand its six-week Cooking Matters nutrition and cooking education class and develop Latino and Asian culturally sensitive menus for home-delivered meals for seniors.
- Wellspring Living, statewide — $150,000 to hire a licensed clinician and two behavioral health specialists and provide evidence-based and trauma-informed training to staff to deliver comprehensive behavioral health services for survivors of sex trafficking at the Receiving Hope Center.
- Prevent Blindness Georgia in Hall County and rural Georgia communities — $125,000 to provide vision screenings, eye exams and prescription glasses to students in Hall County schools and adults with low incomes or lack of insurance in rural Georgia communities.
- Families First in Atlanta — $100,000 to expand in-person and virtual counseling services to families disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and to connect those families with critical community resources and support.
“This unprecedented environment has compounded challenges faced by Georgia’s most vulnerable residents and created further barriers to accessing the health care and services they need,” said Marcus Robinson, vice president of sales and account management, UnitedHealthcare of Georgia. “Our support of these organizations in Georgia through this UnitedHealthcare Empowering Health commitment will help provide critical aid and resources to the communities in Georgia that need it the most.”
Providing access to better health in high-risk and high-need local communities is a profound challenge. 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.
The Empowering Health grants bring to more than $100 million UnitedHealth Group’s efforts to fight COVID-19 and assist impacted communities by supporting vulnerable populations, protecting the health care workforce and advancing breakthrough innovations in testing and treatment.
In addition to UnitedHealthcare’s support in Georgia, the company has launched similar community initiatives and public-private collaborations nationwide focused on addressing social determinants of health. UnitedHealthcare has invested more than $500 million in affordable-housing communities since 2011, partnered with food banks and meal-delivery services, and last year joined with the American Medical Association to standardize how social determinants of health data is collected and used to create more holistic care plans.