BLOOMFIELD, Conn., October 26, 2011 - Cigna and the Cigna Foundation are awarding grants totaling $51,150 to three U.S.-based and two global charities. The grants are a new feature of Cigna's Shape Up Healthy Life Team Challenge, a team weight loss and physical activity competition for employees and their families around the globe that furthers the company's mission of improving the health of individuals.
More than 11,000 people logged 352,100 hours of physical activity - the equivalent of 40 years - and lost a total of 11,150 pounds - more than the weight of 550 watermelons - in the second annual challenge. The Shape Up Challenge reinforces Cigna's new GO YOUSM message that encourages all individuals - including employees - to be true to themselves and improve their health in ways that work for them.
As an added incentive this year, the Cigna Foundation is making Shape Up grants based on the Challenge results. Based on those results and an open Challenge participant vote, a grant of $31,150 will be awarded to the American Diabetes Association. The grant matches $1 dollar for every pound lost, plus an additional $20,000 for the collective competition achievement of 20 million physical activity minutes, and will support the ADA's Step Up and Step Out to Stop Diabetes program in Atlanta. It will fund training walks designed to create excitement around walking as an ongoing healthy activity and will target at-risk individuals.
"Cigna's Shape Up Challenge shows the importance of physical activity for diabetes prevention and management," said Mike Gault, senior executive director, American Diabetes Association. "The generous donation from the Cigna Foundation will allow the American Diabetes Association to help change the future of diabetes by providing educational programs, advocacy and research for type 1, type 2, gestational, and pre-diabetes."
Additionally, each of the four winning teams-weight loss and physical activity, domestic and international-designated the charity of their team's choice to receive a $5,000 award. Those organizations are:
- National Transplant Assistance Fund - Helps families address financial hardships arising from uninsured medical expenses related to transplantation.
- First Candle - Works to advance infant health and survival.
- Canadian Red Cross - Works to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.
- Asociacion de Usuarios de Prótesis Infantiles (Aupi) Spain - Supports children who use prosthetics.
"Tying our employees and family members' weight loss and physical activity to community grants continues our efforts to connect healthy living with our charitable giving, while also proving to be a great motivator for this year's Challenge," said Gianna Jackson, executive director of the Cigna Foundation. "Cigna employees are very generous and support numerous community and charitable causes, and once again they stepped up by walking that extra mile or skipping dessert for a unique opportunity to give back."
The Cigna Shape Up Challenge is one of many programs Cigna offers to help employees reach and maintain better health and obtain a healthy work/life balance. The company considers this approach to employee engagement to be a key component of its mission to improve the health, well-being and sense of security of everyone it serves.
Cigna (NYSE: CI) is a global health service and financial company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. Cigna Corporation's operating subsidiaries in the United States provide an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, as well as group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions and has approximately 66 million customer relationships throughout the world. All products and services are provided exclusively by such operating subsidiaries and not by Cigna Corporation. Such operating subsidiaries include Life Insurance Company of North America, Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company and Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company. To learn more about Cigna®, visit www.cigna.com. To sign up for email alerts or an RSS feed of company news, log on to http://www.cigna.com/newsroom/rss. Also, follow us on Twitter at @cigna, visit Cigna's YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/cigna and listen to Cigna's podcast series with healthy tips and information at http://www.cigna.com/podcasts or by searching "Cigna" in iTunes.
Cigna Foundation is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation and its subsidiaries. The Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna employees live and work.