Encouraging
Food as
Medicine

Commitment

Over a three-year period, the Elevance Health Foundation will invest up to $30 million to support programs that address food insecurity by helping individual reach optimal health through good nutrition. As of January 2024, $27.4 million in food as medicine grants has been awarded.

Background

Food insecurity—the lack of consistent access to healthy, nutritious food—is one of the most critical unmet needs in the U.S. Reliable access to nutritious food is an essential part of maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle, yet 40 percent of households report moderate to high levels of food insecurity. And the burden is not distributed equally; it is disproportionately high among racial and ethnic minority groups.

Research demonstrates that hunger, health, and well-being are deeply connected. People who are food insecure are more affected than others by diet-sensitive chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Children without enough healthy food can suffer delayed development, and risk such chronic diseases as asthma and anemia. And undernourished school-age children often experience behavioral problems, including hyperactivity, anxiety, and aggression.

Food insecurity is most prevalent among children, seniors, and people of color.

The number of 
households that 
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The number of 
U.S. residents who 
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The percentage of U.S. households  with children that were  food insecure in 2021.

The number of 
U.S. seniors ages 60+ who faced 
hunger in 2021.

Approach

The Elevance Health Foundation believes that food is medicine, and that consistent access to nutritious food is an essential part of maintaining health. We have long championed better access to nutritious foods in the communities we serve through grants to nonprofit organizations. And year-round, our associates give their time and talent to fighting hunger on the front lines.

To support our recently refined strategy, the Foundation is building on its work in programs that treat food as medicine. We are focusing on programs that demonstrate improved health outcomes for individuals with chronic conditions and that create greater access to healthy and nutritious food by improving affordable, healthy food options among food-insecure populations.

We partner with those committed to health equity and whole-person care, and who demonstrate a deep understanding of the health-related needs of the populations they serve.

Learn about our funding criteria.

Featured Grants

Feeding America

Feeding America®

Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, received a new, $14.1 million grant to expand its current partnership, known as the Food as Medicine program, and help 30 member food banks that are working with healthcare partners. This multiphase collaboration, which began in 2019, between hospital systems and food banks could influence our understanding of how food as medicine affects clinical outcomes among people at risk of or suffering from diet-related health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Fund for the City of New York

Fund for the City of New York

The Fund received a $550,000 grant from the Elevance Health Foundation to support a new program focused on improving health outcomes for food-insecure New Yorkers in the South Bronx who have hypertension and/or are prediabetic or have uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. Patients and their households will receive home delivery of culturally and medically tailored meals. To drive lasting behavioral changes, community health workers will provide health coaching and benefits navigation.

Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging

Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging

Through a new partnership, the Elevance Health Foundation is helping Indiana AAAs support local food banks, food pantries, and other fresh-food partners increase the distribution and home delivery of fresh, healthy food options to participants statewide. To help reduce the impacts of diabetes, obesity, and other chronic conditions, the program also offers scales and blood pressure monitors to help individuals track health metrics, with the goal of improving diet and overall quality of life.

Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio

Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio

A $100,000 grant from the Elevance Health Foundation supports the “Farmacy in the City” program, which offers cardiac and diabetes patients from underserved neighborhoods fresh produce, pharmacy care, and follow-up appointments to reduce diabetes morbidity and mortality risk. Through free insulin and testing supplies, food prescriptions/food pantry access, and meal-planning support, the program helps participants optimize blood sugar levels, body weight, blood pressure, and medication use.