Aetna Foundation: Cultivating Healthy Communities
The Aetna Foundation is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna, Inc. Its mission is to promote wellness, health, and high-quality health care for everyone, while supporting the communities it serves. The Cultivating Healthy Communities (CHC) grant program is geared specifically to nonprofit organizations that work with underserved, low-income, and minority populations in the continental U.S. CHC seeks to catalyze measurable improvements in community health outcomes.
CHC seeks support communities’ efforts to become healthier places to live, work, learn, play, and pray. It invites proposals that address the social determinants of health and participants’ physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. Projects must address the following five domains:
- Built Environment: Indicators are improved walkability, bikeability, and use of public spaces in a community.
- Community Safety: Indicators are increased collaboration between local law enforcement and community members to proactively address immediate public safety issues, public health issues, or both.
- Environmental Exposures: Indicators are 1) decreased exposure to air and water contaminants; and 2) increased understanding, monitoring, and reporting of local environmental hazards by community residents.
- Healthy Behaviors: Indicators are 1) increased consumption of fruits and vegetables; and 2) increased physical activity and stress reduction activities. Applications under this domain are very strongly encouraged to focus on changing local policy. Policy-focused projects will be prioritized when selecting sustainable approaches to healthy behaviors.
- Social/Economic Factors: Indicators are increased access to healthy foods through the development of new or
enhanced retail options, including resident-owned businesses.
Additionally, CHC will give special consideration to projects that include at least one of the five domains listed above with the following types of projects:
- Projects that advance resident- or youth-led initiatives: Do local residents play a pivotal role in the planning and implementation of activities? Is developing resident leadership essential to the project’s success?
- Projects that seek to influence and strengthen local policies: Does the project examine and address how the policies of local institutions impact the health of residents in the community? Does the project hold itself accountable for achieving policy changes?
The Foundation is looking for projects that will make a lasting impact on the health of a well-defined group of people in a community. Projects that have solid methods for measuring change over time will have a competitive advantage over projects that have limited or sporadic contact with participants (e.g., health fairs, school presentations).
Amount: $2,000,000 is available to fund 25 grants, ranging from $50,000-$100,000 each for the entire project period. A funding request may not exceed 20 percent of an organization’s annual operating budget. Projects can last between 18-24 months.
Eligibility: Nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status, and state and local government agencies. Organizations must have operating budgets of at least $250,000. A fiscal sponsor may be used to apply, only if the organization applying through the fiscal sponsor has annual operating budget that is $250,000 or more.
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