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Aetna Awards $275,000 To Chicagoland Nonprofits


Celebration honors Aetna’s 2006 philanthropic and community partners

Organizations invited to apply for 2007 grants addressing obesity, depression, the nursing shortage, and diversity and cultural competency in the health professions

CHICAGO,— Aetna (NYSE: ΑET) and a host of community and medical leaders gathered at the National Museum of Mexican Art to pay tribute to six organizations receiving Aetna Foundation grants in 2006, and celebrate their contributions to improving the health of Chicago’s diverse communities. In addition to celebrating 2006 awardees, the gathering provided opportunities for non-profit organizations to forge new relationships, strengthen existing partnerships and share their visions of community service.

“In addition to our grant-making, Aetna seeks to be a catalyst of change, serving as a convener of innovative collaboration among community organizations together to collaborate in innovative ways,” said Martin Castro, Aetna’s vice president of external affairs for its diverse markets in Chicago. “If each person attending tonight walks away with one new idea, one new relationship, or one new partnership, imagine what we can accomplish,” Castro told celebrants.

“Aetna’s culture of caring extends beyond helping people achieve health and financial security,” said Robert Mendonsa, regional president of Aetna. “We are also working to improve America’s health care system by cultivating and supporting a universe of partners who share our goal of enhancing the quality of life and health for all citizens and who are dedicated, as we are, to making a special effort to reach underserved communities and vulnerable populations.” Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed more than $310 million to community programs.

Volunteerism is an important component of Aetna’s culture of caring. Aetna employees have contributed more than 1 million volunteer hours since 2003 and earned national accolades from the Points of Light Foundation. Roger Cassidy, who heads Aetna’s national accounts in Chicago, works with the Erie Family Health Center which provides health care to 30,000 patients through 120,000 clinic visits each year. “Many of the Center’s patients are uninsured and without Erie would not have access to high quality primary care,” he explained. “The Center is an example of how for-profit and non-profit missions can converge to have a profound positive impact on people’s lives.” In recognition of the Center’s 50th anniversary, Aetna’s Chicago employees raised funds for the Center’s prenatal, diabetes and oral health programs, presenting a check for $25,000 at the close of the evening’s celebration.

The six organizations receiving Aetna Foundation Community Grants in 2006 included:

* Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center — $50,000 grant for a pediatric oral health clinic to be housed within the hospital that is expected to serve 1,500 children in its first year.
* Erie Family Health Center — $50,000 grant to hire a bilingual licensed clinical social worker to provide linguistically and culturally sensitive care for Hispanic patients suffering from depression in the Humboldt Park and West Town communities.
* Illinois Health Education Consortium/AHEC — $50,000 for the Whittier Wellness Initiative to reduce obesity and obesity-related illness among the children and families of Whittier School through access to recreational green spaces, whole fresh foods, and opportunities for physical activity including community gardening, walking and bicycling clubs.
* Logan Square Neighborhood Association — $50,000 grant for “Growing Healthy at McAuliffe School. This multi-faceted program includes a ”walking school bus“ that encourages parents to lead groups of children to and from school, a Chicago Public Schools ”Cool School" salad bar pilot to offer healthier food choices, and initiatives to bridge school, home and community in a coordinated effort to raise healthier families and children.
* Swedish Covenant Hospital — $25,000 to develop a model to improve conversations between patients, doctors and nurses about treatment preferences and end-of-life preferences upon admission to the hospital. The goal of the program is to empower patients to make well-informed decisions on their own behalf and communicate decisions consistent with their own values to hospital staff upon admission.
* University of Illinois Neighborhoods Initiative — $50,000 to provide oral health services to Southside children in partnership with the Mile Square Health Center. This early intervention program aims to have infants receive their first dental checkup at age one and teach parents how to eliminate practices harmful to developing teeth.


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