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Elevance Health Foundation Expands Food as Medicine Programs Through New Grants

The Foundation has awarded an additional $4.2 million, bringing award total to more than $27 million to support organizations delivering solution to improve food insecurity.

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

Elevance Health Foundation Commits $22.8 Million to Food as Medicine Grants

With the goal of helping individuals achieve optimal health through good nutrition, these grants will support programs that treat food as medicine.

The Foundation is awarding grants to programs that focus on one or more of the following goals: preventing or managing chronic conditions through food interventions, improving access to and distributing food while providing long-term solutions for food insecurity, and providing nutrition and health education. These grants are part of up to $30 million that the foundation plans to invest over the next three years to encourage the use of food as medicine.

“Having consistent access to nutritious food is an essential part of maintaining one’s health and improving overall outcomes. Between continued economic fallout from the pandemic, record-high food prices, and more, access to healthy and nutritious food is getting harder for Americans,” said Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., chief health officer of Elevance Health. “We know that hunger, health, and well-being are all deeply connected. That’s why the Elevance Health Foundation is focusing on programs that help prevent the onset of diet-related health conditions and demonstrate improved health outcomes. Our partners are committed to health equity and whole health and have a deep understanding of the health-related needs of the populations they serve.”

The Foundation will award more than $14 million to the Feeding America network, the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States, to expand its current partnership, known as the Food as Medicine program, and help fund up to 30 member food banks that are working with healthcare partners.

In addition to Feeding America, 19 other organizations will receive a total of more than $8.7 million over the next three years for their food as medicine initiatives:

Food as Medicine Grantees

  • Centers of Wellness for Urban Woman, Inc.
  • Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio
  • Children’s Hunger Alliance
  • CORE Community Organized Relief Effort
  • Diabetes Association of Atlanta, Inc.
  • Feeding America
  • Fit4Kids
  • Food & Friends, Inc.
  • ForKids, Inc.
  • Fresno Metropolitan Ministry
  • HealthLinc, Inc.
  • IAAAA Education Institute, Inc.
  • Meals on Wheels West
  • Midwest Food Bank NFP
  • Project Open Hand
  • Promoting Local Agricultural and Cultural Experiences, Inc.
  • Thai Community Development Center
  • Union Hospital, Inc.
  • Union Station Homeless Services
  • Virginia Foundation for Community College Education

In the Media

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Housing Works expands virtual food bank program with $300K grant

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Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield donating $1M to help fight food insecurity in Louisville

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Healthy Blue donates $450k to help ‘Food is Medicine Program’ fight food insecurity

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Fit4Kids’ Learning Gardens receive boost from Anthem Foundation

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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation awards $50K grant to Second Harvest

September 30, 2023

Westfield Lions & Elevance Health team up to fight food insecurity

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Grant to help DC children manage diabetes with pharmacy food program

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More DC kids will have access to healthy foods as ‘food pharmacy’ expands

September 15, 2023

Funding helps bring healthy food to hospital patients

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Noblesville Lions & Elevance help kids stay Fueled for School

August 30, 2023

Donation for Feed More’s Food As Medicine initiative called ‘very significant’

August 30, 2023

$450K Grant for ‘Food as Medicine” Program

July 28, 2023

Second Harvest to launch ‘Food as Medicine’ initiative to screen people for food insecurity

July 25, 2023

Amerigroup Foundation’s $450,000 Grant to the Houston Food Bank Extends Food as Medicine Program to Improve the Lives of Texans

July 06, 2023

Mid-Ohio Food Collective receives grant for ‘Farmacy’ program

June 29, 2023

Second Harvest gets $150K grant from Amerigroup

June 27, 2023

Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana Receives $450,000 Grant from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation

June 26, 2023

Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana receives $450,000 grant

June 19, 2023

Empire BlueCross BlueShield gives $450K to local food bank

June 06, 2023

Two organizations partner to ensure NYC families don’t go hungry

May 31, 2023

Mid-Ohio Food Collective receives a $150,000 grant

May 24, 2023

Kristen Laeace: Lifestyle Medicine important part of Older Americans Month

May 18, 2023

Lifestyle Medicine important part of Older Americans Month

May 10, 2023

HACAP Food Reservoir receives $125K from Amerigroup Foundation for ‘Food as Medicine’

April 24, 2023

SWCC continues SingleStop registration

March 23, 2023

MOFC Receives $150,000 from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation to Continue ‘Food as Medicine’ Program

January 10, 2023

In Indianapolis, Building A Community Food Ecosystem In An ‘Apartheid Zone’

January 02, 2023

Funding roundup