NASHVILLE, Tenn., February 09, 2015 - As part of its focus on Senior Care, the Cigna Foundation today announced grants totaling $60,000 to be divided among three Nashville-based non-profits to help area seniors enjoy healthier, more secure lives. The YMCA of Middle Tennessee, FiftyForward, and Bethlehem Centers of Nashville each received a $20,000 grant to aid and develop important senior-specific health programs.
"We are pleased to support these three great organizations that share our mission of supporting senior health in the community," said Greg Miller, market manager for Cigna-HealthSpring of Tennessee. "Their senior programming is highly utilized and designed to have a deep and lasting impact in our community."
These charities represent a diverse sample of non-profit organizations in Nashville. Their programs reflect the Middle Tennessee community's growing commitment to join together in turning the tide on health crises by giving people the knowledge, skills and resources to develop sustainable healthy habits-a movement championed by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.
"Education is at the heart of these programs," said David Figliuzzi, executive director of the Cigna Foundation. "Through them, seniors gain new knowledge about how to live healthfully and affordably, oftentimes using resources already available to them. It is our hope that the information, knowledge and resources offered by these programs will not only improve the health and lives of senior participants, but also have far-reaching effects long after people complete the classes and programs."
Beginning in March, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee will use its Cigna Foundation grant to launch "A Matter of Balance," a new fall prevention program, at three of its locations, reaching 75 percent of its senior customers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries. According to its own research, Cigna-HealthSpring identified a fall prevention program to be a top priority. The YMCA's program is based on a previous successful pilot program.
FiftyForward, a local thought leader with nearly 60 years of experience providing programs, centers and services for older adults, is using the grant money to support their Adult Day Services available at no cost to high-risk seniors, their Meals on Wheels program, and their Bordeaux Center, which offers high-risk seniors health screenings, social services and education at no cost. All three of these programs hit on a key component of healthy aging: peer interaction. Socialization helps all areas of well-being, delays the onset of chronic disease, and keeps older adults living independently, longer.
Bethlehem Centers of Nashville, a family resource center founded in 1894 and one of the oldest Nashville non-profits serving the community, is using its grant to update and install a commercial kitchen to bring its highly successful Meals on Wheels program back to the headquarters, and to continue to grow their reach in the community. The grand opening of the new kitchen will be celebrated on March 19 during their "Community of Champions" event which is open to the public and includes local officials pitching in to help raise awareness and prepare hot meals for seniors. The grant enables BCN to expand its Meals on Wheels program and reach its goals by 2017 to serve 275 recipients hot meals Monday through Friday - a 48 percent increase - and to grow at a rate of 15 percent year over year. Additionally, the kitchen will be used to teach members how to make heart-healthy and diabetic-friendly recipes. Free cooking classes will be available to BCN community members. BCN plans to use local affordable produce, much of which is grown in the center's teaching garden.
"Cigna's employees have a great desire to help others. Through its sponsorships, charitable giving and fundraising activities across the country, Cigna is able to offer meaningful ways for us to connect with our fellow employees and with our neighbors. We are excited about supporting these organizations and look forward to collaborating for meaningful and positive change in our community," added Greg Miller.
Currently, the Cigna Foundation's four health-related areas of focus are Women's Health, Children's Wellness, Senior Care and Health Equity.
In 2013, Cigna's combined charitable giving totaled more than $11 million and Cigna employees donated nearly 50,000 hours of service to charitable organizations across the country. Read more about Cigna's commitment to community in Cigna's 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report. In 2013, Cigna Foundation grants totaled more than 3.7 million dollars to support organizations.
About the Cigna Foundation
The Cigna Foundation, founded in 1962, is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE:CI) 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.
Cigna-HealthSpring, a Cigna company (NYSE:CI), is one of the country's leading health plans focused on delivering care to the senior population, predominately through Medicare Advantage and other Medicare and Medicaid products. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Cigna-HealthSpring offers a national stand-alone prescription drug plan and operates health plans in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.cignahealthspring.com.