Nothing speaks to our commitment to responsible leadership more visibly and resolutely than the activities of Aetna’s independent charitable and philanthropic arm, the Aetna Foundation. Founded in 1972, the Aetna Foundation is a national health foundation that promotes wellness, health and access to high-quality health care for everyone, while supporting the communities we serve.
Promoting wellness, health and access to high-quality care
Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have awarded more than $379 million to community programs across the country. The Foundation has identified the following program areas as key priorities for grant making in 2010 and beyond:
Addressing the rising incidence of obesity among U.S. residents, including children
Promoting racial and ethnic equity in health and health care for common chronic conditions and infant mortality
Advancing integrated health care by improving coordination and communications among health care professionals, creating informed and involved patients, and promoting cost-effective, affordable care
In 2009, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation contributed over $20 million in grants and sponsorships to nonprofits across the nation, addressing a variety of health issues and other community needs. Aetna employees, retirees and directors donated an additional $4.4 million through the company’s matching gift program. Employee contributions were further enhanced through volunteer efforts — more than 317,000 hours of personal time and commitment.
Addressing critical health issues: philanthropy’s role
Obesity Obesity has become a national epidemic. It undermines people’s health as well as their financial well-being. To address the rising incidence of obesity among Americans, including children, we fund efforts to understand obesity’s root causes, particularly among minority populations, and ways to support better choices to stave off overeating and reduce inactivity.
Since 2006, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have awarded more than $6 million in support of efforts to combat obesity, including an award to the Foundation for Public Broadcasting in Georgia, Inc./Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) in support of Healthy Kids & Communities.
This multi-pronged, community-outreach initiative is addressing childhood obesity by offering content that encourages good nutrition, exercise and the development of healthy lifestyle habits, starting at
an early age. In December 2009, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue issued a commendation to Aetna for the company’s diligence in improving health in the state. The commendation reads in part:
“Aetna’s efforts to promote health and equality and its commitment to reducing the incidence of diabetes and childhood obesity in Georgia, demonstrate its outstanding corporate citizenship.”
Racial and ethnic health care equity To promote racial and ethnic equity in health and health care and to reduce disparities in infant mortality, we support efforts that identify connections between where people live and receive health care, and the quality and equity of the care they receive.
A $40,000 Aetna Foundation award to the Fund for Public Health New York, Inc. is supporting “text4baby” in New York City, a public-private partnership that delivers important health information to pregnant women and new mothers living in underserved communities. It works by sending text messages to mobile phones. Subscribers receive three text messages each week, in English or Spanish. Each is tailored to the mother’s stage of pregnancy and/or the age of her baby. This free service will provide women with critical information about health during pregnancy, as well as infant health and well-being.