Chattanooga Area Food Bank Among Recipients Of UnitedHealthcare's $300,000 Donation To Nonprofits In Tennessee

Thursday, July 22, 2021

UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group company, is awarding $300,000 in Empowering Health grants to four community-based organizations in Tennessee 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 Tennessee include: 

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee – $125,000 for a food pantry safety net clinic in collaboration with Neighborhood Health to support food pantries at eight clinics in the Nashville area.

Chattanooga Area Food Bank – $70,000 for refrigeration infrastructure in support of a new pilot program to strategically place food lockers in high-need areas where individuals can access them at any time.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee – $70,000 to support product sourcing for the Food to Encourage program, which distributes lean meats, fresh produce, low-sodium canned fruits and vegetables, and dairy products to people in need of food assistance in Northeast Tennessee. 

YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South – $35,000 to purchase refrigeration for the Y on the Fly program to allow delivery of fresh produce and dairy products to rural and underserved areas in and around Memphis.
 
“Social and economic factors have a profound impact on achieving and maintaining good health,” said Keith Payet, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee. “Through Empowering Health grants, we’re working with local organizations to provide Tennesseans with greater access to essential resources in high-risk and high-need communities so they can live healthier lives.”  
 
Officials said, "Good health encompasses more than simply visiting a doctor’s office. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, nearly 80 percent 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 six 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 Tennessee this includes more than $8.3 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."


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