UnitedHealthcare Donates $500,000 To Five Nonprofit Organizations in Rhode Island

UnitedHealthcare is awarding $500,000 in Empowering Health grants to five community-based organizations in Rhode Island to expand access to care and address social determinants of health for uninsured individuals and underserved communities.

In total, UnitedHealthcare is donating more than $11.1 million in grants through its Empowering Health program across 12 states. The grants will assist people experiencing challenges such as food access and nutrition, social isolation, and behavioral health issues, and support local health education efforts.

Grant recipients in Rhode Island include:

  • Thundermist Health Center, Woonsocket, West Warwick, South County – $200,000 to purchase a mobile medical unit to provide integrated behavioral and medical care
  • Progreso Latino, Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence – $105,000 to extend a pilot of the Salud, Salsa y Sabor (SaSaSa) nutrition education program and add recipes and information integrating healthy canned food into cultural recipes for Latino immigrant communities
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, Newport County – $80,000 to purchase a refrigerator and locally grown produce to expand Produce to the People distributions at the community center and mobile food pantry locations.
  • The Providence Center, statewide – $65,000 to strengthen community-based mental health services by expanding the specialized emergency services program for children
  • VICTA, Providence – $50,000 to expand the continuum of care to include outpatient withdrawal management services, including alcohol use disorder

“UnitedHealthcare is honored to support the important work these local organizations are doing to provide greater access to services for underserved communities in Rhode Island,” said Michael Florczyk, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Rhode Island. “Social and economic factors continue to have a significant impact on achieving and maintaining good health. These grants enable us to work closely with our community partners and to be there for what matters in addressing social determinants of health for their residents.”

According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, approximately 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.

Identifying and addressing social determinants of health needs is a core aspect of how UnitedHealthcare serves its members. Last year, UnitedHealthcare screened 4.9 million members, made 2.4 million referrals to community resources, and ultimately closed the loop and confirmed that 84% of members had at least one of their social needs met.

Since launching its Empowering Health commitment in 2018, UnitedHealthcare has now invested more than $62 million in Empowering Health grants, reaching nearly 11 million people through partnerships with community-based organizations in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

UnitedHealth Group, including UnitedHealthcare and Optum, and its affiliated companies, is dedicated to advancing health equity and building healthier communities by supporting programs to improve access to care and address key determinants of health. In Rhode Island, this includes more than $1.1 million in contributions over the last three years representing its businesses, foundations and employees.

Additionally, UnitedHealth Group has invested more than $800 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. In June 2022, the United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group, made a $100 million commitment over 10 years to advance health equity, furthering its efforts to eliminate health disparities. This was the largest single philanthropic commitment ever made by the United Health Foundation.