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Aetna donates $200K to community-based programs in Michigan

Aetna has made donations to promote workforce development programs in Michigan.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor

Aetna Better Health of Michigan, a CVS Health company, announced that Aetna has made two donations totaling $50,000 to Focus: HOPE and Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities to promote workforce development programs in Michigan. Aetna also provided donations totaling $150,000 to six community-based organizations to impact social determinants of health.

The donations were provided to both organizations during an event at the CVS Health Detroit Workforce Innovation and Talent Center. The innovation hub opened this year and offers comprehensive skills training, job placement and community health services.

“There are numerous obstacles that individuals living in under-resourced communities face when trying to begin and succeed in their careers, which can impact their long-term health and well-being,” said Teressa Smith, CEO of Aetna Better Health of Michigan. “We’re working to support the advancement of Michiganders’ participation in the workforce by investing in local programs focused on eliminating these barriers.”

Focus: HOPE is a nonprofit organization in Wayne County that provides an intergenerational and holistic mix of services to help disrupt the effects of racism, poverty and other forms of social injustice. Aetna contributed to Focus: HOPE’s Workforce Development & Education program, which has helped adults throughout metro Detroit obtain higher education credentials and begin in-demand careers.

The $25,000 donation from Aetna will support a wide range of resources to help students confront life challenges that would otherwise hinder success, including transportation assistance, mental health counseling and small stipends to help participants while they jumpstart their careers.

“Giving students the opportunity to develop new skills that will help them on a successful career path is our goal, and getting them to the classroom to learn is the first step,” said Ashliegh Mitchell, corporate philanthropy officer at Focus: HOPE. “The donation from Aetna will help bridge the gap in resources that our students need to get started on their higher education journey.”

[Read more: CVS Health Foundation awards $3M in grants to increase access to mental health services, resources for adolescents]

LAHC - Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the educational, social health and economic well-being of Southeast Michigan residents. Aetna donated $25,000 to LAHC’s Digital Technology Skills Program, which provides digital exploration programming for adults in the organization's English as a second language programs.

The contribution will enable LAHC to sustain and expand technology classes focusing on project-based and hands-on learning and exposure to computers, software and the internet to help adults better succeed in school and their career with improved digital skills.

“Computer and technology literacy is imperative for people to participate in today’s workforce,” said Wassim Mahfouz, CEO at LAHC. “Community investments like this will give learners the opportunity to develop their digital skillset and increase their readiness to advance in today’s job market.”

During the event, Aetna also donated to additional community-based organizations to address food insecurity, housing, child mortality and social determinants of health in under-resourced communities in the state. Donations were provided to:

  • Community Action Agency, serving Jackson County, to assist individuals recovering from substance abuse by connecting them to services that help maintain stable housing.
  • Forgotten Harvest, serving metro Detroit, to support its Healthy Food, Healthy Kids Program, which works to provide nutritious food to nearly 200,000 children in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
  • Housing Resources, serving Kalamazoo County, to support the purchase of ModPod modular units, which are designed to provide adults who are experiencing unsheltered homelessness with a transitional, comfortable living space that meets their basic needs until sustainable housing is secured.

[Read more: CVS Health report highlights need for expanded role of retail pharmacists]

  • Ministry with Community, serving Kalamazoo County, to deliver a suite of essential and intensive services that work in a complementary way to help people achieve greater stability and long-term progress as they navigate the effects of homelessness and/or poverty.
  • South Michigan Food Bank, serving Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Jackson, Hillsdale, Lenawee and St Joseph counties, to support its work to provide access to fresh ingredients and shelf-stable products to our neighbors in Southern Michigan.
  • YWCA Kalamazoo, serving Kalamazoo County, to address racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality, pregnancy and birthing outcomes between Black and white pregnant people and their infants by linking families to social and medical resources.
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