The Aetna Foundation Awards More Than $3 Million in Grants to Support Healthy Eating and Exercise in Local Communities

The Aetna Foundation Awards More Than $3 Million in Grants to Support Healthy Eating and Exercise in Local Communities (Graphic: Business Wire)

HARTFORD, Conn.--()--The Aetna Foundation today announced that they have awarded more than $3 million in community grants to 75 nonprofit organizations in 22 states as part of GoLocal: Cultivating Healthy Communities, a program that helps healthy food choices and active living take root in underserved communities.

One component of GoLocal is the Local Roots grant program, which included a specific focus on funding the creation and expansion of community gardens, urban farms and farmers markets. These programs will increase access to fresh foods, create opportunities for nutrition education and promote exercise in local neighborhoods.

This funding comes at a critical time when there is a great need to make healthy foods more available, accessible and affordable at the local level. An estimated 14 percent of American households were food insecure at some time during 2014, meaning they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members, according to the USDA. In addition, approximately 23 million Americans live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods more than one mile away from the nearest grocery store, according to Let’s Move.

“Poor nutrition and low activity levels can be especially challenging in underserved communities, but local programs like those the Aetna Foundation supports can have a big impact on community health,” said Garth Graham, M.D., MPH, president of the Aetna Foundation. “At the Aetna Foundation, we know that place matters. Where you live can have a profound impact on your health. We’re excited to support programs that reach people where they are with specific ways to incorporate healthy eating and exercise – reaching people in their neighborhoods leads to sustainable change that will be key to improving health outcomes nationwide.”

Another component of GoLocal is the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) program, which is designed to create momentum behind healthier lifestyles by focusing on better nutrition and greater physical activity in underserved communities. In addition to making healthy foods available, accessible and affordable, these programs will allow people of all ages to come together through neighborhood solutions.

Since 2014, the Aetna Foundation’s GoLocal: Cultivating Healthy Communities grant program has awarded more than $6.4 million in grants and sponsorships. Through programs like Local Roots and HEAL, the Aetna Foundation is building a healthier world, community by community.

Grants have been awarded to the following programs:

Organization         Project         State Served
Esperanca, Inc         Salud con Sabor Latino (Health with a Latin Flavor)         Arizona
Family Involvement Center         Salsa, Sabor y Salud         Arizona
Golden Gate Community Center a Program of Wesley Community Center         Health with Latin Flavor         Arizona
CommunityGrows         Garden and Nutrition Education for Underserved Youth: Alemany Farm Expansion         California
The Edible Schoolyard Project         Growing Strong Leaders in Edible Education         California
Garden School Foundation         The Seed to Table Project         California
LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes         LA Plaza Garden & Culinary Arts workshops at Family Day events         California
Students Run America         Training For a Marathon...Training for Life         California
Youth Policy Institute         Local Roots LA         California
Denver Urban Gardens         Building a Healthy Local Food System for Metro Denver         Colorado
Groundwork Denver Incorporated         Cultivate Health: Youth Leadership & Community Farming         Colorado
Billings Forge Community Works Inc.         Food for Good in Frog Hollow: Eating fresh, local, and together         Connecticut
Chrysalis Center, Inc.         Chrysalis Center's Railway Gardens, Food Forest and Homestead Farmer's Market         Connecticut
Hartford Marathon Foundation, Inc.         HMF FitKids         Connecticut
Knox, Inc.         Hartford Grown Headquarters: Phase 2 & 3         Connecticut
The Trust for Public Land         Parks for People -- Bridgeport         Connecticut
American University: School of Education, Teaching, and Health         Vive Sana: Enhancing Access and Skills for Community Healthy Eating         District of Columbia
DC Central Kitchen         Healthy Corners: Enhancing the Health of Low-Income Communities through Empowering Entire Households to Make Better Food Choices         District of Columbia
Iona Senior Services         Senior Farm-to-Table Cooking Classes and Nutrition Education Project         District of Columbia
Teens Run DC         Teens Run DC         District of Columbia
Washington Tennis & Education Foundation         WTEF Fitness Program for Children and Youth Living in At-Risk Neighborhoods         District of Columbia
Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade         Little Chefs and Get Fit Challenge         Florida
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County, Inc.         Cultivating Good Health Expansion Project         Florida
Hispanic Unity Of Florida, Inc.         Unity 4Teens- A Size Healthy (ASH)         Florida
Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association         The Tampa Heights Farmers' Market: Bringing It All Together -- Tampa Heights Healthy Living, Garden, Kitchen, Training and Social Enterprise         Florida
Captain Planet Foundation         Grow, Eat, Love: Nutrition Education in Project Learning Garden schools         Georgia
Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential         GCAPP Plant, Grow and Learn Garden Project         Georgia
Association House Of Chicago         Healthy Families Initiative         Illinois
Chicago Horticultural Society         Windy City Harvest Youth Farm         Illinois
Erie Family Health Center, Inc.         Healthy Eating and Active Living Program for Underserved Communities (HEAL)         Illinois
Erie Neighborhood House         Super H: Healthy Kids, Healthy Families         Illinois
Fuller Park Community Development Corporation         Eden Place Farmers Outreach and Training Initiative         Illinois
Sankofa Community Development Corporation         Sankofa Fresh Market, Learning Garden, and Youth Education Programs         Louisiana
Tulane University         Grow Dat Youth Farm--Expanding Our Successful Model         Louisiana
Cultivating Community         Proliferating Garden Access, Healthy Food Access, and Food-Based Education and Empowerment for Portland, Maine's Food Growers and Food Eaters         Maine
St. Mary's Nutrition Center         Digging Deeper and Spreading Roots: an expansion plan for community gardens in Lewiston-Auburn Maine         Maine
GapBuster, Inc.         Healthy Mind / Healthy Bodies         Maryland
Madison Park Development Corporation         Grow Roxbury         Massachusetts
Mass Audubon         Boston Nature Center Urban Food Forest         Massachusetts
Gateway Greening         Gateway Greening: School Gardens for Healthier Kids         Missouri
Boat People SOS, Inc.         Resilient Roots Farm Program         New Jersey
Covenant House New Jersey Inc         Healthy Food, Healthy Life Initiative         New Jersey
Fan4Kids, A NJ Nonprofit Corporation         F4K New Jersey Expansion         New Jersey
Young Audiences of New Jersey         Jump with Jill Nutrition Education Initiative         New Jersey
Citizens Committee For New York City         Aetna Local Roots Awards         New York
Figure Skating in Harlem, Inc.         Active Living Program         New York
Fund for Public Health in New York         Building Healthy Communities: Supporting Grow to Learn's Citywide School Garden Initiative         New York
Girls on the Run NYC         Empowering Girls through Movement: Delivering Girls on the Run, A Physical-Activity Based Positive Youth Development Program, in NYC         New York
The Doe Fund         Urban Agriculture Program         New York
Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation         Community Gymnastics Programs         New York
Sow Much Good Inc         SMG Market & Program Expansion         North Carolina
Young Men's Christian Association of Northwest North Carolina         Planting the Seeds for a Strong Community         North Carolina
Local Matters         Seeding the Future: Building Food Security through Community Gardens and Healthful Food Education         Ohio
The Center for Closing the Health Gap in Greater Cincinnati         Do Right! Kids Mt. Auburn & Walnut Hills         Ohio
The Children's Home of Cincinnati, Ohio         Nutrition Matters Initiative         Ohio
The Refugee Response         Refugee Empowerment Agricultural Program (REAP)         Ohio
A Little Taste Of Everything Inc         Mill Creek Farm         Pennsylvania
Esperanza Health Center         Nuclear Powered Fitness and Nutrition         Pennsylvania
Federation of Neighborhood Centers         Teens 4 Good Healthy Community Initiative         Pennsylvania
Greensgrow Philadelphia Project         Greensgrow Community Garden Center         Pennsylvania
Nationalities Service Center         Growing Home: Refugee Community Gardens         Pennsylvania
The Food Trust         Expanding HYPE Beyond School Walls: Empowering Youth Leaders to Improve School and Community Health         Pennsylvania
Urban Tree Connection         Neighborhood Foods         Pennsylvania
Trevecca Nazarene University         Food Desert to Food Oasis: University and Youth Partnership for Growing and Marketing Fresh Food         Tennessee
Baylor Health Care System Foundation         Farm Stand Expansion Project with a Family Demonstration Garden Project         Texas
Foundation for Wellness, Texas         FitWorth Fuel Program         Texas
People's Community Clinic         Happy Kitchen/Cocina Alegre         Texas
San Antonio Sports         i play! afterschool program         Texas
Sustainable Food Center         Healthy Families         Texas
The Concilio         Comprando Rico y Sano (Buying and Shopping Healthy)         Texas
Greater Richmond Fit4Kids, Inc         Fit4Kids: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds         Virginia
United Methodist Urban Ministries Of Richmond Inc         Urban Farmacy and Kitchen Prescription         Virginia
Green Plate Special         Bringing the Garden to the Table for central and south Seattle's Low Income Youth, Their Community, and Teachers         Washington
Solid Ground         Food Access and Community Education         Washington
The Market Foundation         Pike Place Market Cooking Classes         Washington

About the Aetna Foundation
The Aetna Foundation is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna (NYSE: AET). Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed more than $465 million in grants and sponsorships. 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 3.8 million hours since 2003. For more information, visit


Aetna Foundation Media Contact:
Matthew Clyburn, 860-416-6513
BRG Communications Media Contact:
Maureen Salazar, 703-739-8366

Release Summary

The Aetna Foundation announced more than $3 million in community grants to 75 nonprofit organizations in 22 states as part of GoLocal: Cultivating Healthy Communities.


Aetna Foundation Media Contact:
Matthew Clyburn, 860-416-6513
BRG Communications Media Contact:
Maureen Salazar, 703-739-8366