Friday, December 18, 2015
Aetna Foundation Awards Grants to Support Healthy Eating and Exercise in Local Communities
The Aetna Foundation today announced that they have awarded more than $3 million in community grants to 75 nonprofit organizations in 22 states as part of GoLocal: Cultivating Healthy Communities, a program that helps healthy food choices and active living take root in underserved communities.
One component of GoLocal is the Local Roots grant program, which included a specific focus on funding the creation and expansion of community gardens, urban farms and farmers markets. These programs will increase access to fresh foods, create opportunities for nutrition education and promote exercise in local neighborhoods.
This funding comes at a critical time when there is a great need to make healthy foods more available, accessible and affordable at the local level. An estimated 14 percent of American households were food insecure at some time during 2014, meaning they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members, according to the USDA. In addition, approximately 23 million Americans live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods more than one mile away from the nearest grocery store, according to Let’s Move.
“Poor nutrition and low activity levels can be especially challenging in underserved communities, but local programs like those the Aetna Foundation supports can have a big impact on community health,” said Garth Graham, M.D., MPH, president of the Aetna Foundation. “At the Aetna Foundation, we know that place matters. Where you live can have a profound impact on your health. We’re excited to support programs that reach people where they are with specific ways to incorporate healthy eating and exercise – reaching people in their neighborhoods leads to sustainable change that will be key to improving health outcomes nationwide.”
Another component of GoLocal is the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) program, which is designed to create momentum behind healthier lifestyles by focusing on better nutrition and greater physical activity in underserved communities. In addition to making healthy foods available, accessible and affordable, these programs will allow people of all ages to come together through neighborhood solutions.
Since 2014, the Aetna Foundation’s GoLocal: Cultivating Healthy Communities grant program has awarded more than $6.4 million in grants and sponsorships. Through programs like Local Roots and HEAL, the Aetna Foundation is building a healthier world, community by community.
Read full press release for grants awarded.