DES MOINES, Iowa–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Amerigroup donated more than $3.2 million of community transformation grants and donations to Iowa community-based organizations in 2021 as part of its commitment to improving lives and communities by addressing the physical, behavioral, economic, social, and environmental factors that impact health. The grants support the whole health needs of local individuals, families, and communities across Iowa through connections and collaborations focused on food insecurity, maternal and child health, health equity, mental and behavioral health, housing, support for at-risk youth and assistance for those who are living with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
Iowa communities face a wide range of challenges that impact their quality of life. According to Driving Our Health: A study exploring health perceptions in America conducted by Anthem, Inc., parent company to Amerigroup, nearly half of Americans (46%) are unaware of the concept of social drivers of health (SDoH) – external factors like nutritious food, safe housing, and reliable transportation – that play a key role in determining health outcomes. And with these drivers in mind, Amerigroup takes a whole-person approach in working with members and community-based organizations to improve health outcomes and make meaningful, sustainable advances to enhance overall wellness.
“As part of Amerigroup’s longstanding commitment to improving the health of our communities, we are addressing the complex and interconnected factors that shape health,” said Jeffrey Jones, Amerigroup Iowa President. “Amerigroup is committed to creating strong communities that are united toward positive and lasting change that will build a brighter better future for our members and our local communities. We continue to take a holistic view and address health in all its forms so individuals, their families, and our communities can achieve optimal health and well-being.”
Amerigroup is reaffirming its commitment to addressing these drivers by providing financial support to a variety of focus areas to improve lives and communities across Iowa.
Food Insecurity ($485,000) – Amerigroup made a commitment to expand access to healthy food throughout the state by providing donations to Iowa Healthiest State Initiative’s Double-Up Food Bucks program and six food banks, including Food Bank of Iowa.
“We are so grateful for Amerigroup’s ongoing generosity supporting Food Bank of Iowa,” said Food Bank of Iowa President and CEO Michelle Book. “From their volunteers who have staffed our mobile food distributions, to their support following the August 2020 derecho and throughout the pandemic, Amerigroup Iowa has been on the front lines with us, helping to feed hungry children, seniors, families and veterans.”
Maternal and Child Health ($474,000) – From promoting the use of doula services to ensuring that all families have access to clean diapers, Amerigroup has continued its commitment to organizations that support healthy birth outcomes and a strong start to life for young children.
“Parents experiencing poverty are subject to increased stress due to the high demand and need for diapers,” says Jennifer Fleener, Sieda’s Family Support Services Unit Director. “Children in families with high levels of stress or depression are at increased risk of social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Access to diapers and families providing more frequent diaper changes can lead to improved physical and mental health for children and families. This means fewer doctor and/or emergency room visits, improved family dynamics, and children better prepared to succeed.”
Health Equity ($142,000) – Nine organizations received funding to provide targeted support to increase opportunities for everyone to live the healthiest and most productive life possible.
“With Amerigroup’s donation, Whatsoever You Do, Inc. will be able to renovate our emergency shelter for women and children who do not have a safe or permanent place to stay in emergency situations,” said Mary Margaret Butler, founder of Whatsoever You Do, Inc. “Once the renovation is complete, we will be able to provide shelter for more than 75 clients at a time. We are grateful for Amerigroup’s support and community involvement as we continue to help those less fortunate and come together as a community to take care of each other.”
At-Risk Youth ($226,000) – Supporting at-risk youth with programs that help them transition into adulthood was another primary focus of Amerigroup’s work in 2021. Eight organizations throughout the state received funding to support the most vulnerable youth populations.
“I am thrilled with the partnership Starts Right Here has developed with Amerigroup Iowa,” said Will Keeps (Holmes), Starts Right Here’s Founder, President and CEO. “This is a company that truly cares about the welfare of at-risk youth in Iowa, and I am so grateful for their financial commitment to the mission of Starts Right Here. We will be able to reach greater heights during this upcoming school year thanks to this funding.”
Mental and Behavioral Health ($140,000) – Encompassing mental health conditions and substance use disorders, behavioral health is a key component of whole health and that’s why Amerigroup’s comprehensive approach in supporting organizations across the state is addressing the behavioral health needs of Iowa communities.
“Unity House of Davenport is profoundly grateful for our partnership and for the community transformation grant we received from Amerigroup,” said Kelly R. O’Brien, Unity House of Davenport Administrative Director. “The funding will provide 18+ men to enter Unity House, where these individuals with substance and or behavioral addictions will receive education and support in a safe, semi-structured environment with access to additional resources for living abstinent from problem behaviors. These funds will also offer support to any of our current residents that may need the financial support to remain with Unity House. This community transformation grant from Amerigroup will not only be helping individuals with addictions, but the families and friends of these men as well.”
In addition to these investments, more than $1.7 million of Amerigroup’s grant activity is providing innovative programs and strategic partnerships that are critical components of integrated healthcare and healthy communities by expanding access to emergency housing ($500,000), supporting specialized populations including those living with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and chronic conditions ($240,000), provider education, assistance, and enhancement ($712,000) as well as additional support and access to services for healthy living ($316,000).
About Amerigroup Iowa
Amerigroup Iowa, an Anthem Company, helps improve health care access and quality for more than 400,000 Iowa residents who participate in the state’s Medicaid programs. Amerigroup serves Iowans by developing and delivering innovative care management programs and services. Amerigroup Iowa members are assured care that is not only accessible, but also accountable, comprehensive, integrated and patient-centered. It provides ongoing community relations and outreach to encourage members to become active participants in their health care. For more information about Amerigroup, please visit https://www.myamerigroup.com/ia/iowa-home.html.