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

HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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.

“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”

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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

About FitWorth Healthy City Initiative: FitWorth is a family-focused initiative of Mayor Betsy Price and the Fort Worth City Council launched in September 2012 to address the growing trend of childhood obesity in the city.  In 2014, FitWorth became an independent program of Foundation for Wellness, Texas, tasked with promoting health and active lifestyles through an individualized and sustainable approach to community wellness.

Release Date:
December 17th, 2015