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UnitedHealthcare donates $1M to Md. nonprofits

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In total, UnitedHealthcare is donating $12.3 million through Empowering Health grants across 21 states. UnitedHealthcare launched its Empowering Health commitment in 2018. (File photo)

UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group company, is awarding $1 million in Empowering Health grants to eight community-based organizations in Maryland to expand access to care and address the social determinants of health for uninsured individuals and underserved communities.

In total, UnitedHealthcare is donating $12.3 million through Empowering Health grants across 21 states. UnitedHealthcare launched its Empowering Health commitment in 2018.

More than half of the Empowering Health grants will help organizations increase their capacity to fight COVID-19 and support impacted communities. These grants will assist individuals and families experiencing challenges from social distancing, food insecurity, social isolation and behavioral health issues, which are among the most urgent needs resulting from the pandemic.

Grant recipients in Maryland include:

  • Capital Area Food Bank in Prince George’s County — $400,000 for two pilot programs: Curbside groceries truck to support food access in food desert communities in Prince George’s County and food pharmacy program at Mary’s Health Center Adelphi designed to provide pregnant women, new mothers and their infants with healthy food and nutritional guidance to support positive health outcomes.
  • Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland in Anne Arundel County — $150,000 to support the Home-Delivered Meal Program by expanding the number of home-delivered meal clients and increasing the amount and depth of social engagement among home-delivered meal clients.
  • Pressley Ridge in Baltimore County — $110,000 to support expansion of the HOMEBUILDERS® Program intervention to families at serious risk of child removal in two high-need neighborhoods in eastern Baltimore County.
  • House of Ruth in Baltimore County — $100,000 to support the creation of a project director position, outreach staff and virtual meeting software to allow small groups of friends/families to come together in a virtual space and learn about intimate partner violence, resources and ways to support victims and a new Contact Center counselor for 24-hour hotline operations and chat software that allows for private conversation when a phone call is not possible.
  • The Family Tree in Baltimore and Prince George’s Counties — $95,000 to support the expansion of a parenting education program.
  • Mary’s Center in Prince George’s County — $75,000 to help establish school-based behavioral health services in Prince George’s County District 1.
  • The Parents’ Place of Maryland in Baltimore and Prince George’s Counties — $50,000 to work with community partners to support families of children with disabilities and special health care needs to be more connected and included in their communities.
  • TasteWise Kids in Howard County — $20,000 to grow the Days of Taste program, particularly for Title I school partners. The program teaches elementary school children about the elements of taste and the role of farms in producing the foods we eat.

Providing access to better health in high-risk and high-need local communities is a profound challenge. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, nearly 80% of what influences a person’s health relates to nonmedical issues, such as food, housing, transportation and the financial means to pay for basic daily needs.

The Empowering Health grants bring to more than $100 million UnitedHealth Group’s efforts to fight COVID-19 and assist impacted communities by supporting vulnerable populations, protecting the health care workforce and advancing breakthrough innovations in testing and treatment.

In addition to UnitedHealthcare’s support in Maryland, the company has launched similar community initiatives and public-private collaborations nationwide focused on addressing social determinants of health. UnitedHealthcare has invested more than $500 million in affordable-housing communities since 2011, partnered with food banks and meal-delivery services, and last year joined with the American Medical Association to standardize how social determinants of health data is collected and used to create more holistic care plans.

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