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UnitedHealthcare donates $500K to Md. nonprofits

UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is awarding $500,000 in Empowering Health grants to four 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 $11 million in grants through its Empowering Health program across 11 states. The grants will assist individuals and families experiencing challenges from food insecurity, social isolation and behavioral health issues, and support local health promotion and health literacy efforts.

Grant recipients in Maryland include:

  • University of Maryland School Mental Health Program within the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore – $150,000 for clinicians and teachers to pilot a Tier 2 prevention program for second through fifth grade classrooms in Baltimore City Title I Schools that are part of the School Mental Health Program.
  • Neighborhood Design Center, Baltimore and Prince George’s County – $140,000 to provide capacity-building and design services to community-driven food access projects at Pimlico Market & Café, Central Kenilworth Avenue Revitalization, and Capital Market, and to develop a toolkit for future food projects.
  • American Heart Association, Montgomery County – $120,000 to work with the Primary Care Coalition to manage hypertension through the Target: BP program and address nutrition and food insecurity by equipping, training and partnering with federally qualified health centers including CCI Health Services, Mary’s Center and Muslim Community Center Medical Clinic.
  • On Our Own of Maryland, Baltimore, Prince George’s County and Howard County – $90,000 to conduct facilitator training to start and expand recognized, evidence-based peer support programs such as Whole Health Action Management and Wellness Recovery Action Plan, at five peer-run Wellness and Recovery Centers.

According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, approximately 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 COVID-19 pandemic has caused additional social and economic challenges that continue to affect healthy behaviors and exacerbate health disparities.

More than a third of members screened by UnitedHealthcare for social-related needs experience at least one social determinant of health. UnitedHealthcare leverages the company’s data to identify health disparities according to race, ethnicity, gender, geography and education level.

Since launching its Empowering Health commitment in 2018, UnitedHealthcare has now invested more than $51 million in Empowering Health grants reaching more than 8 million people through partnerships with community-based organizations in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

UnitedHealth Group, including UnitedHealthcare and Optum, and its affiliated companies, is dedicated to advancing health equity and building healthier communities by supporting programs to improve access to care and address key determinants of health. In Maryland this includes more than $6.3 million in contributions from 2019-2021 representing its businesses, foundations and employees.

Additionally, UnitedHealth Group has invested more than $800 million in affordable housing communities since 2011, partnered with food banks and meal-delivery services, and in 2019 joined with the American Medical Association to standardize how social determinants of health data is collected and used to create more holistic care plans. In June, the United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group, made a $100 million commitment over 10 years to advance health equity, furthering its efforts to eliminate health disparities. This was the largest single philanthropic commitment ever made by the United Health Foundation.