$11.1 million in Empowering Health grants helps to expand access to care

Maintaining good health isn’t always easy, especially if you struggle with accessing nutritious food, safe, affordable housing or if you don’t have access to mental health care. In fact, up to 90% of what influences a person’s health relates to these nonmedical issues, or what’s commonly referred to as social determinants of health.

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.

To help communities address these challenges, UnitedHealthcare is awarding $11.1 million in grants to 66 nonprofit organizations through its Empowering Health program across 12 states to help uninsured individuals and underserved communities. The states include Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington.

These grants will help those struggling with food insecurity, social isolation, behavioral health issues, health literacy efforts and more.

The grants include:

  • $300,000 to Community Servings in Massachusetts to research, design, pilot and test a Step-Down Program that will support clients as they transition off a medically tailored meals program.
  • $300,000 to CHRIS 180 in Atlanta, Georgia to support trauma-informed mental and behavioral health and social services through a community health worker program for low-income residents of Atlanta’s westside.

"With the additional funding from the Empowering Health Grant, we can provide even more access to behavioral health services and trauma-informed care for historically underserved and uninsured residents on the Westside, empowering them to conquer adversity,” said Haynes Morrison, vice president of community initiatives at CHRIS 180. “Furthermore, this invaluable funding will propel our Community Health Workers program, enabling more families to navigate and triumph over life's most formidable challenges."

  • $200,000 to Consejo Counseling and Referral Service in Pierce County, Washington to support the addition of culturally relevant wellness programming to support all aspects of mental and physical well-being for youth and families across Pierce County and rural areas.
  • $200,000 to Trellis in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota to reduce social isolation among people living with memory loss and their caregivers with targeted outreach to convene community leaders to provide input, complete needs assessments, develop culturally appropriate materials, identify areas of greatest need and host community events bringing awareness to memory loss and providing practical solutions for addressing social isolation.    

“Trellis is grateful to receive funding from UHC’s Empowering Health program to reduce isolation for people with dementia and their family caregivers. Alzheimer’s and other dementias are extremely isolating for the person with the condition and their closest family members,” said Dawn Simonson, president & CEO of Trellis.

  • $165,000 to The Upstate Foundation in Syracuse, New York to support the Upstate Medical University’s “She/We Matter Program”, a peer-to-peer community outreach program designed to reduce health disparities by making health screenings, particularly mammograms, a priority among low-income Black and Latinx women.

“The impact that this funding from UnitedHealthcare will have on our local Syracuse community will be significant. Because of this grant, the She Matters outreach team will be able to continue the vital work of educating and empowering underserved women to make breast cancer screening a priority allowing for early detection and quicker treatment,” said Linda Veit, assistant vice president of community relations with SUNY Upstate Medical University.

  • $65,000 to The Providence Center in Rhode Island to strengthen community-based mental health services by expanding the specialized “Emergency Services Program” for children.

"UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to addressing social and economic factors that impact people’s ability to achieve and maintain good health. As a healthcare company, we see significant and ongoing inequities that exist in various communities across the country, particularly along racial lines,” said Olivia Jefferson, vice president of social responsibility at UnitedHealthcare. “It’s imperative to collaborate with organizations and the Empowering Health grants allows us drive positive change for the people we call friends, family and neighbors across the communities we serve. Our ultimate goal is to help people live healthier, happier lives.

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

Sign up to get the latest news from the UnitedHealthcare Newsroom