Newsroom | 09 February 2016

Cigna Foundation Makes Workplace Wellness a Global Priority; Announces World of Difference Grant to Ashoka for Program in India


Cigna Foundation
Gloria Barone, 215-761-4758

  • Focusing on health equity for international workforce
  • Targeting Middle East, India, Africa, Europe, China
  • Supporting Ashoka’s program to help India’s working poor
  • Promoting importance of healthy workplaces worldwide

BLOOMFIELD, Conn., 09 February, 2016 - The Cigna Foundation today announced it is making Workplace Wellness a priority for its World of Difference grants outside the United States. Prioritizing Workplace Wellness is a natural extension of the Cigna Foundation’s emphasis on health equity, and its belief that workplaces can serve as an entry point to helping people navigate their health and improve their wellness.

The Cigna Foundation is seeking grant, sponsorship and thought leadership opportunities related to workplace health and wellness in the Middle East, India, Africa, Europe and China, and is looking for non-profit partners who can use funding as well as the knowledge and expertise of Cigna professionals and volunteers to support their programs.

“We chose Workplace Wellness as our global giving priority to reach as many people as we can, as we believe that the most efficient way to have impact on a large scale is through the world’s employers. Through this work, we can help improve wellness among the global workforce, and drive better health for communities worldwide,” said David Figliuzzi, executive director of the Cigna Foundation.

As a first step, the Cigna Foundation awarded a $50,000 World of difference grant to Ashoka, a global non-profit who is building a Workforce Wellness Collaborative Innovation Lab in India. Ashoka is starting with low-income workers in physically stressful conditions where there is a high incidence of workplace absenteeism because of accidents, illness and related conditions – and where improvements can make a rapid impact. Ashoka’s program will provide health assessments, pay for treatment, and support behavior change for healthy lifestyles, delivered at the work site. Success will be measured in health improvement and workplace productivity, reduced absenteeism, fewer accidents and employee retention.

“We are excited to be partnering with Cigna in our Vitalness@Work pilot in India, which we believe will benefit both the working poor and their employers,” said Dr. Al Hammond, director of Ashoka’s global health program.

Ashoka’s strong 600-member global health innovation network includes Nalini Saligram, CEO and founder of Arogya World, another Cigna Foundation World of Difference partner. Arogya World is dedicated to preventing chronic disease, with a strong emphasis on Healthy Workplaces in India

“Through the success of the Ashoka program, we will be able to demonstrate that it is in the best interest of employers and employees alike to improve health and well-being. We look forward to the results of Ashoka’s program, and to considering how to use this as a model for workplace wellness everywhere,” Figliuzzi said.

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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.

About Cigna

Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 89 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit

About Ashoka

Ashoka is the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries putting their system changing ideas into practice on a global scale. Founded by Bill Drayton in 1980, Ashoka has provided start-up financing, professional support services, and connections to a global network across the business and social sectors, and a platform for people dedicated to changing the world. Working in partnership with private, philanthropic and citizen sector players we are achieving large-scale social innovation that is grounded in decades of entrepreneurial experience.