Aetna Foundation: Grants for Public Health

OVERVIEW: The Aetna Foundation is a philanthropic subdivision of Aetna Inc. It's a key funder of iniatives tht address racial and ethnic health disparities/health equity in underserved communities.  

IP TAKE: If you specialize in health disparities/health equity programs and/or research, the Aetna Foundation is a definite funder to consider. However, because these are generally not major grants, it shouldn't be relied upon as a significant source of funding.

PROFILE: The Aetna Foundation provides support for public health programs, research and policy analysis. The foundation allocates its funds via two mechanisms — a national grant program and a regional grant program. The national grant program invests in projects throughout the country with national implications and significance. It focuses on three main areas: 

  • Health Quality and Access for All - This program supports research into inequality in healthcare through grants to researchers, scholars and organizations.
  • Healthier Lifestyles - This program provides grants to local initiatives to promote community wellness through healthy eating and physical activity. While funds are directed to adult and family projects, Aetna is particularly supportive of programs that target low-income children.
  • mHealth and Health Information Technologies - This program provides grants to organizations that are digging for data to tackle “large-scale health and social problems,” with a focus on healthcare innovation in underserved communities.

Foundation-wide, grants range from $50,000 to $250,000. It is important to note that unsolicited proposals are not accepted for its national grants program. Rather, targeted organizations are invited to work with the foundation to develop potential projects. In addition, Aetna issues specific requests for proposals which nonprofits can apply for. 

Aetna’s regional grants are awarded to community wellness projects, with donations ranging from $25,000 to $50,000. Unsolicited applications are considered via this mechanism on a rolling basis. However, regional grants are restricted to community projects that relate to one or more of Aetna’s priority states, with an emphasis on specific cities.

If you specialize in health disparities/health equity programs and/or research, the Aetna Foundation is a definite funder to consider. However, because these are generally not major grants, it shouldn't be relied upon as a primary component of your funding -- indeed, Aetna emphasizes that it cannot contribute to more than 20 percent of an organization’s overall annual budget. 

Grantseekers are advised to visit the website frequently to get updates on such initiatives. As always, it’s also a good idea to subscribe to the foundation email list to ensure that you do not miss important announcements.

PEOPLE:

  • Garth N. Graham, President
  • MaryLynn Ostrowski, Executive Director
  • Alyse Sabina, National Program Director

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