Funding will support community-based initiatives aiming to boost African American childhood development and improve educational achievement gaps
UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, awarded a $150,000 grant to the African American Babies Coalition and Projects (Wilder AABC) in support of its initiatives to educate the community, recruit child care professionals and develop programs for African American families in the Twin Cities.
Wilder AABC is part of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, a community nonprofit that has been meeting the needs of families and individuals for over 100 years. Wilder AABC was formed in 2008 when a group of African American women saw a need for brain science and early childhood development research to be more accessible and shared in a more culturally relevant way.
Wilder AABC is working to improve educational achievement gaps by fostering healthy childhood and brain development, as research shows introducing proper practices in the very early stages of childhood can prevent health inequities experienced in adulthood.
“Research proves an upward spiral happens when one develops a philosophy of community, a sense of belonging, and a network of family, friends and neighbors,” said Sameerah Bilal-Roby, founder and director of Wilder AABC. “We are thankful for UnitedHealthcare’s grant as this will contribute to better health, parenting, participation and society.”
The funding from UnitedHealthcare will be used to:
- Create a Families, Friends and Neighbors (FFN) Crisis Manual to help visiting professionals understand the connections between early childhood development, toxic stress, adverse childhood experiences and health disparities, and the importance of respecting and integrating culturally congruent practices of wellness to connect with the families they serve.
- Recruit and train up to 15 child care professionals with experience in the Twin Cities as well as rural areas that include historically underserved populations, to serve as home visitors.
- Help with the development and infrastructure of the Minnesota African American Licensed Childcare Provider Association to increase their capacity, training and deployment in Minnesota.
“We are honored to support Wilder AABC in its efforts to expand the reach of its programs and to recruit and train critical child care professionals,” said Victor Fields, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Minnesota. “We must address the gaps in education head-on that African American children face, and provide resources and support, starting in early development, to help us create a more equitable society and help people live healthier lives.”
Minnesota has historically ranked as one of the worst states in the country for education achievement gaps. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, African American students' math and reading proficiency levels were 20% lower in 2021 compared to their peers.
The coalition's mission is one that UnitedHealthcare, along with its parent company UnitedHealth Group, have been inherently aligned with for more than 30 years. UnitedHealth Group has worked with national and local partners to improve health equity, expand access to care and eliminate health disparities based on race, ethnicity, income, sexual orientation and other factors. The company is investing in programs and partnerships focused on maternal health, food, health literacy, behavioral health and social isolation, including nearly $14 million in philanthropic grants to support maternal health, and $2.85 million in support to March of Dimes for a public-private partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services that aims to reduce the Black-white disparity gap and improve maternal health outcomes.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.5 million physicians and care professionals, and more than 6,700 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.