Encouraging
Food as
Medicine

Commitment

Over the next three years, the Elevance Health Foundation will invest up to $30 million to support programs that address food insecurity by helping individuals reach optimal health through good nutrition.

Background

Food insecurity—the lack of consistent access to healthy, nutritious food—is one of the most critical unmet needs in the U.S. Reliable access to nutritious food is an essential part of maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle, yet 40 percent of households report moderate to high levels of food insecurity. And the burden is not distributed equally; it is disproportionately high among racial and ethnic minority groups.

Research demonstrates that hunger, health, and well-being are deeply connected. People who are food insecure are more affected than others by diet-sensitive chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Children without enough healthy food can suffer delayed development, and risk such chronic diseases as asthma and anemia. And undernourished school-age children often experience behavioral problems, including hyperactivity, anxiety, and aggression.

Food insecurity is most prevalent among children, seniors, and people of color.

The percentage of U.S. households with children affected by food insecurity in 2020.

The percentage of the Black community that experienced food insecurity in 2020.

The percentage of Americans ages 60+ who faced hunger in 2019.

The number of children who faced hunger in the U.S. in 2020.

Approach

The Elevance Health Foundation believes that food is medicine, and that consistent access to nutritious food is an essential part of maintaining health. Over the past five years, we have championed better access to nutritious foods in the communities we serve, with the Foundation providing nearly $20 million in grants to nonprofit organizations. And year-round, our associates give their time and talent to fighting hunger on the front lines.

To support our recently refined strategy, the Foundation is building on its work in programs that treat food as medicine. We are focusing on programs that help prevent the onset of diet-related health conditions and demonstrate improved health outcomes. Our goal is to create greater access to healthy and nutritious food by improving affordable, healthy food options among food-insecure populations.

We partner with those committed to health equity and whole-person care, and who demonstrate a deep understanding of the health-related needs of the populations they serve.

Learn about our funding criteria.

Featured Grants

Feeding America

Feeding America®

Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, received an additional $1 million grant from the Elevance Health Foundation to expand its Food Is Medicine program in 2021. This funding will assist 14 Feeding America food banks as they work with healthcare partners to screen patients for food insecurity during outpatient visits. Those who are food insecure will be connected to helpful resources at healthcare facilities, community-based pantries, and meal programs.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Indianapolis

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Indianapolis

LISC Indianapolis and the Elevance Health Foundation are partnering on a three-year, $2.45 million initiative to improve access to nutritious food and help build a more equitable food system in Indianapolis’s northeast corridor.

With the vision of providing the neighborhood with improved food access and economic mobility, this initiative will work collaboratively, convening residents, community leaders, subject-matter experts, and civic organizations to determine which food projects to support, launch, or expand.

Foundation for California Community Colleges (CCC)

Foundation for California Community Colleges (CCC)

The Foundation CCC received a $100,000 grant from the Elevance Health Foundation to reduce food insecurity and hunger among CCC students. Through its Student Ambassador Program, 14 students will be trained at seven colleges to enable peer outreach. These ambassadors will provide fellow students with information about applying for CalFresh benefits, a program that improves nutrition for low-income individuals. The Foundation CCC will also raise awareness of CalFresh among students across the state through external communications activities, focusing on National Hunger Awareness Month.

Fit4Kids

Fit4Kids

Through a $90,000 local Elevance Health Foundation grant in Virginia, Fit4Kids will be onsite at 24 school Learning Gardens, teaching students about nutrition and encouraging healthy lifestyles. Its comprehensive program helps children experience growing, harvesting, and tasting fresh, flavorful food—changing the way they feel about vegetables.

Funding will also help expand Fit4Kids’s greenhouse operation, which provides seedlings to local gardens, families, food banks, and churches for distribution to students, along with at-home gardening kits.