By Walter Woods
Good health and well-being for all – that’s what we’re committed to at the Humana Foundation.
Of the many barriers on the road to well-being, the Humana Foundation is focused on addressing social determinants of health, the conditions under which people are born, grow, live, work and age that affect health and well-being. We’re co-creating communities with local partners where leadership, culture and systems work to improve and sustain positive health outcomes.
We launched our new Strategic Community Investing program in 2018, contributing approximately $7 million to nine different organizations in seven cities through this program. Each of these cities is a “Bold Goal” community for Humana and a place where our partners at Humana Inc. are working to improve people’s health 20 percent by 2020.
And, each of the Humana Foundation investments addresses health equity and social determinants of health through partnerships and collaborations with local organizations, as we strive to create measurable, sustainable results.
In Louisville, the Foundation invested in two local nonprofits that are seeking to address different social determinants of health.
- Our $560,000 investment in The Family Scholar House funded the launch of the HEREOS program, which has the ambitious goal of reaching more individuals, families and senior citizens than Family Scholar House ever has. The HEROES program assesses and addresses barriers including social isolation, food insecurity and lack of post-secondary educational attainment.
- Metro United Way, our second Louisville investment recipient, received $770,000 to expand its pilot financial literacy program, improving financial independence among the most vulnerable residents in this community. The program provides asset-limited, income constrained families and residents with financial literacy coaching.
Each organization receiving a Humana Foundation Strategic Community Investment in Louisville (and elsewhere) has an opportunity to receive continuing funding for one or two additional years based on the specific results they achieve during the first year of their respective programs.
It’s our intention that these investments will help us create national, sustainable models and create impactful and sustainable change by joining forces with local partners.
Quality of Life
We’re also focused on improving the quality of life in Louisville, our headquarters hometown, via a series of Community Relations grants. These grants are for local nonprofits with programs addressing food security, housing, safety or healthcare issues, or those that make metropolitan Louisville a more appealing place to live by addressing the environment, arts and culture, inclusion and diversity or equitable access for all.
In 2018, the Foundation contributed $2.4 million to 30+ organizations doing great work to improve our quality of life and “quality of place” in Louisville, including seven organizations that received $100,000 grants. Some examples of the work our Community Relations grants recipients are undertaking includes:
- Home of the Innocents is helping children and young adults experiencing homelessness via its Aftercare Program.
- Shawnee Christian Healthcare Center is funding comprehensive school-based health centers in high-need neighborhoods, providing medical, dental and counseling services to low-income, medically under-served residents in West Louisville.
- Kentucky Refugee Ministries is empowering new Louisvillians by partnering with and educating local healthcare providers, helping newcomers with complex medical conditions as well as those in refugee and immigrant community groups.
- Louisville Metro Health Department’s “Our Money, Our Voice” initiative provides residents in designated neighborhoods with an opportunity to brainstorm ideas that improve the community, develop submitted ideas into project proposals, vote for the best proposals, and fund the winning projects.
As initial results and milestones start to roll in, we’re looking forward to celebrating the successes of our partner Strategic Community Investment organizations and Louisville Community Relations grantees. And, we’re looking forward to working with these and other community partners in the future to make a difference in people’s lives and health in Kentucky.
-Walter Woods is CEO of the Humana Foundation.