Anthem Foundation Takes Action Directing More Than $20 Million to Nonprofits in the Wake of COVID-19

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Collaborating with local and national partners, Anthem Foundation continues to provide new grants to help rebuild and support communities across the country

INDIANAPOLIS -- Anthem Foundation continues to make a lasting impact in communities across the country with its unwavering commitment to help those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of its $50 million pledge for COVID-19 relief efforts, Anthem Foundation today announces nearly $24M in new grants to nonprofit organizations across the country that will largely focus on addressing food insecurity, mental health and housing and economic recovery.

“Our communities have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the work our nonprofits are doing is vital as communities look ahead to their recovery,” said Gail Boudreaux, President and CEO, Anthem, Inc. “Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to help meet the needs of our most vulnerable populations and support organizations who continue their work on the frontlines addressing areas that were severely impacted by the pandemic.”

As local communities evaluate safety precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation, together with its nonprofit partners, share a common vision to continue to lift up those in need and look towards  the possibility of a better tomorrow, by addressing health disparities and inequities and promoting health and wellness for all.

Food Insecurity

Prior to COVID-19, it was estimated that 11 percent of households in America were food insecure. In recent surveys, nearly 40 percent of households now report moderate to high levels of food insecurity, with children being impacted the most. On a national level, we are helping the following organizations address food insecurity:

  • The Food Trust with continued support for the Community Food Retail Program. Together, the grant will advance health equity and expand access to heart-healthy foods/beverages, including culturally relevant and locally grown fresh produce in strategically selected communities. The programming involves partnering with residents, local suppliers and store owners to improve stock, affordability and promotion of heart-healthy foods;
  • Studies find that 36 percent of college students are experiencing hunger and lack stable housing. To help alleviate this struggle, Anthem Foundation has partnered with The Foundation for California Community Colleges in a new program called First Response Healthcare Student Support Fund (First Response Fund) to provide emergency financial assistance for the needs recipients deem most urgent, such as food and housing assistance. Additionally, our renewed partnership with Virginia Foundation for Community College Education will reduce non-academic barriers that impede student success such as food, housing and mental health. Grant funding will be used to identify the specific student needs in VA colleges and communities to make available healthy nutrition options for students at all 23 community colleges so they maintain a path to college completion;
  • City Harvest, Inc. and its Mobile Markets to help meet the immediate need for food while taking a long-term approach to building healthy eating habits in targeted, high-need communities. Our collaborative efforts will provide residents access to retail food outlets or emergency food, and will take place twice a month at nine locations across the five boroughs, equating to over 200 distribution events.

Mental Health

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and impacts how we act, think and feel. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 50 percent of all Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime. The following organizations have been provided grants to propel their programs and services to those in local communities including:

  • A partnership with Healthier Kids Foundation in California to support the My Health First Program that will focus on screening for health issues and allocate case management resources to help parents access the specialized care their children need;
  • Continued collaboration with NAMI in Indiana and Virginia, supporting programs for individuals who have mental health conditions. In Indiana, the partnership will support the Family-to-Family educational class designed for families, partners and friends of people who have mental health conditions. And with new challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts in Virginia will support volunteer program leaders and support group participants who are experiencing distress due to isolation and fears around illness, along with the support of several other programs aimed to increase coverage and resources;
  • Managing type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an around-the-clock job of checking blood sugar numbers, counting carbohydrates, and dosing the right amount of insulin at the right time. This relentless regimen has a direct psychological impact on people with T1D and their loved ones. Anthem Foundation is partnering with JDRF International to provide funding to support the development of two series of digital resources to be used in both the community and through clinical intervention, providing practical mental wellness techniques to families and individuals managing type 1 diabetes.

Housing and Economic Recovery

U.S. jobless claims surpassed 40 million as a result of COVID-19; the largest unemployment rate since the Great Recession, and the highest in U.S. history. Minorities, especially Latino and Black individuals, make up 25 percent of unemployment rates. Additionally, homelessness puts individuals at higher-risk of victimization, criminal justice system involvement, and poor mental and physical health. The organizations the Foundation will work with to help alleviate homelessness and provide economic recovery support to include:

  • Partnering with the Coalition for Homeless Intervention of Greater Indianapolis by providing flexible resources to obtain permanent housing or substance abuse treatment. With Street Reach Indy, we will work together to fill in gaps in service, provide assistance when no other resource exists, and ultimately reduce homelessness;
  • In New York City’s low-income communities, housing instability and poor housing quality are closely linked. Together with Local Initiatives Support Corporation our grant will assist residents who are at greater risk of complications with COVID-19 with access to comprehensive programs that will help alleviate health disparities caused by lack of housing;
  • Our grant to the Alameda Point Collaborative, Inc. in California will support programming to develop a data collection system with process and outcomes measures to track health benefits and cost aversions to strengthen the medical respite field based on APC's national research, and shape a service model, architectural design and housing placements with trauma-informed care principles.

The Foundation continues to work with organizations that provide critical community services to those on the forefront of prevention, treatment, recovery and relief efforts in affected areas across the country. The philanthropic investments will continue to build on economic and social resilience, working to remove systemic barriers and provide opportunities to our nation’s most vulnerable populations. For a full list of new grant recipients, visit the Anthem Foundation’s blog.

About Anthem Foundation

The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the organization’s commitment to improving lives and communities. Through strategic partnerships and programs, the Foundation addresses the social drivers that will help create a healthier generation of Americans in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on critical initiatives that make up its Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts and programs that benefit people with disabilities. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at https://medium.com/anthemfoundation.

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The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.