Elevance Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Elevance Health, today announces the expansion of its food as medicine grants through an additional $4.2 million in awards. Each grant will go toward organizations that are helping individuals and families reach optimal health through good nutrition, focusing on improving clinical outcomes for food insecure individuals with chronic conditions and/or creating more access to nutritious foods for food-insecure populations. This third phase of food as medicine grants is part of the $30 million the Foundation plans to invest through next year to make significant progress in encouraging food as medicine. This round of grants brings the total awarded thus far to more than $27 million.
Those who experience food insecurity are more likely to experience chronic diseases—such as diabetes and high blood pressure—and children often experience delayed development. Research also shows that undernourished school-aged children often experience behavioral conditions. Sadly, this burden is not distributed equally, as it is disproportionately high among racial and ethnic minority groups.
“We believe that food is medicine, and when we fuel our bodies with nutritious foods, we can prevent diet-sensitive chronic diseases. However, food insecurity continues to be one of the most critical unmet needs in the U.S.,” said Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., Chief Health Officer at Elevance Health.
“Through the work of the Elevance Health Foundation, we are making access to high-quality food a priority and creating more access to nutritious food for food-insecure populations across the country. Currently, six of our Foundation-funded programs that focus on food distribution and long-term solutions have reached more than 270,000 individuals and have provided more than 306,000 meals.”
The newest phase of food as medicine grantees joins 19 previously awarded organizations. To date, the first and second phase of grant programs have reached more than 528,000 individuals and are beginning to report early outcomes. For example, of the 12 current grant programs that have collectively reported more than 700 individuals flagging one or more chronic conditions, 64% have reported improved health outcomes (e.g., blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.).
“Since the start of our program, participants are self-reporting positive gains against indicators of nutrition risk, including food insecurity, access to a variety of nutritious foods, weight and eating alone,” said Kristen LaEace, CEO of Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging (IAAAA), an organization the Foundation awarded funding to last year. “As we enter the next year of our grant, we anticipate seeing continued improvements around social isolation and physical activity, as our program is driving stronger engagement with the AAA’s congregate meal sites and the evidence-based healthy aging supports they offer.”
The following organizations will receive more than $4.2 million with a goal of reaching more than six million Americans:
Second Phase Grants: Food as Medicine
- Academy of Medical and Public Health Services
- Augusta Locally Grown
- Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) Foundation
- Children’s Medical Center of Akron
- Columbus Neighborhood Health Center
- Diabetes Association of Atlanta
- The Food Pantries For the Capital District
- Fund for the City of New York
- Greater Richmond Fit4Kids
- The Health Initiative
- Housing Works Inc.
- Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
- National WIC Association
- Poverello Center
- Salt and Light Works
- Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin
- TENT Ministries
- Virginia Primary Care Association