-- Support aimed at improving health and health care and other causes --
-- Aetna employees donated $6.8M in 2012, up 25 percent over prior year; volunteer hours also increased by 12 percent --
HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With an eye on increasing wellness and eliminating health disparities, Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) and its philanthropic arm, the Aetna Foundation, donated more than $14.6 million to nonprofit organizations in 2012. Grants were awarded to tackle poor nutrition and increase physical activity, confront the shortage of primary care physicians and find new ways to fix the fragmented delivery of health care, issues that disproportionately impact low-income and minority communities.
“We believe in helping people stay healthy by giving them the support they need, when they need it, and to make confident choices that can lead to healthier lives. Our philanthropy is focused on helping people take charge of their health,” said Mark Bertolini, chairman, CEO, and president of Aetna Inc. and chairman of the Aetna Foundation.
In addition to their focus on better health and well-being, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation made grants and sponsorships to help veterans, promote diversity and inclusion and support community development.
Focus on wellness and health care
More than 20 percent of Aetna’s and the Aetna Foundation’s giving was directed to healthy eating and fitness programs for communities who are most at risk for poor health -- low-income, underserved or minority populations. Funding built community gardens in Greater Philadelphia that grow produce for food pantries; taught kids in San Antonio about good nutrition; provided healthy meal planning and dancing classes to Latino families in the Bronx; and expanded a free soccer-based fitness and nutrition program to children in Detroit, Houston and Washington, D.C. In all, more than 75 organizations received grants to promote healthy diets and physical exercise and to make fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable and accessible.
To address the looming shortage of primary care physicians and the present-day scarcity of doctors from minority populations, the Aetna Foundation was the founding sponsor in 2012 of the Tour for Diversity in Medicine. This volunteer effort is working to diversify health care professions by giving minority college students advice and resources to pursue careers in medicine and dentistry.
The Aetna Foundation also is supporting work to prepare doctors for 21st-century medicine. In 2012, grants were made to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies to help improve medical residency programs and to the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers to train primary care physicians in “hotspotting,” a technique used to identify patients who utilize health care resources at abnormally high rates and subsequently work to improve their care.
Aetna employees make a difference
In 2012, Aetna employees stepped up their personal charitable donations through the company's matching gift program. Employees gave $6.8 million, an increase of nearly 25 percent over the previous year. Aetna employees also generously donated their personal time, volunteering more than 380,000 hours, a 12 percent increase over 2011.
Working together, Aetna, the Aetna Foundation and Aetna employees helped The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp provide free summer camp and family retreats for children with sickle cell disease and other serious illnesses. For the third consecutive year, Aetna was the lead sponsor of the organization’s annual Camp Challenge Ride, a bike ride that has raised more than $1.5 million since 2009. About 125 employees and their family members joined in the fun, riding as Team Aetna. Additionally, several hundred Aetna employees cleaned and painted the campsite in Ashford, Conn., to get it ready for summer programs. In 2012, The Aetna Foundation awarded a $100,000 leadership grant to help The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp expand its activities.
“Aetna employees believe in giving back,” said Floyd Green, head of Aetna’s Community Relations and Urban Marketing. “We are proud to support their efforts with our matching gift program and volunteer grants.”
In November, 2012, Aetna was recognized as the fourth most community-minded company in the “Civic 50” survey, a ranking of Standard & Poor’s top 500 companies.
About the Aetna Foundation
The Aetna Foundation, Inc. is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed more than $427 million in grants and sponsorships, including more than $14.6 million awarded in 2012. As a national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who have volunteered four million hours since 2003. The Aetna Foundation’s current giving is focused on addressing the rising rate of adult and childhood obesity in the U.S.; promoting racial and ethnic equity in health and health care; and advancing integrated health care. For more information, visit www.aetnafoundation.org.
Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 38.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers' compensation administrative services and health information technology services. Aetna's customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.