INDIANAPOLIS – (BUSINESS WIRE) – The Anthem Foundation and LISC Indianapolis are working hard to improve access to nutritious food and help build a fairer food system. The initiative is a commitment to improve sustainable access to nutritious food by strengthening and investing in a community-based plan. The Anthem Foundation has committed $ 2.45 million to LISC Indianapolis over a three-year period to develop and coordinate this approach to a systemic problem. Starting this year, the initiative will implement evidence-based strategies aimed at improving fair access to food and food security efforts in an Indianapolis community.
“Food insecurity exists in all parts of our country, including our capital Indianapolis. Building on our community heritage and vision of enabling a healthcare system, not just healthcare, we are excited to launch this effort in partnership with a leading local lawyer to re-think our food system from the ground up, “said Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, Chief Health Officer of Anthem, Inc. ” To get the country out of this pressing problem, it takes courageous ideas and community collaboration. ”
Food security is the most commonly reported unmet social need in the United States. Almost 40% of households report a moderate to high level of food insecurity. The effects are being felt in every community across the country. In certain communities, however, the crisis is far worse, as there are significant differences just a few kilometers apart. Anthem’s Near Home Food Insecurity tool, which maps publicly available food insecurity data in every zip code in America, helps contextualize the scale of this crisis and track the drivers of the disparity. For example, Marion County in central Indiana alone experiences nine percent higher food insecurity among children than neighboring Hamilton County. This inequality, exacerbated by access to nutritious food and underpinned by racial, ethnic and economic differences, creates significant disparities in health outcomes – underscoring the need for a broad and systemic approach to food access and security solutions .
In the past few years, Anthem has looked at food security and inconsistent and inadequate access to nutritious foods, along with other critical factors affecting the overall health of individuals, families and communities. By addressing these critical social health drivers, which include access to transportation, housing, technology, and environmental factors, Anthem focuses on the often unfulfilled elements that can make the difference in health and wealth.
“We are grateful for the Anthem Foundation’s commitment to improving food accessibility in Indianapolis’ neighborhoods by investing in this broad and collaborative initiative,” said Jessica Guilfoy, vice president of field excellence at LISC. “More than ever, we need solutions that not only have a direct impact on food insecurity and improve access to healthy food, but also support economic mobility, racial justice and the resilience of the population.”
How the initiative will work
By working with partners including the new Indianapolis Department of Food and Politics, LISC Indianapolis will facilitate neighborhood selection through an open and inclusive process. Each community determines which food projects are supported, started or expanded. Examples of this include communal kitchens, infrastructure support for farmers, food projects, mobile markets and more. Emphasis will be placed on ensuring that all projects improve food access and economic mobility for the neighborhood, are community-led and contribute to the establishment of racial justice.
The streamlined RFP process for neighborhood selection opens on April 8th. LISC is working with the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center to provide virtual community training to help neighborhoods develop a joint proposal in response to the RFP. This training takes place on April 1st. Once the neighborhood is selected for investment, a community-based planning and implementation process begins, bringing together residents, community leaders, subject matter experts and civic organizations to develop a vision for equitable food access with physical development strategies, programmatic partnerships and investments to to achieve this vision. In the future, the Anthem Foundation will continue to work with other philanthropic and business partners in Indianapolis to develop the fund to support additional neighborhoods.
For more information, visit: www.lisc.org/indianapolis/what-we-do/livability/equitable-food-access-initiative
The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and promotes the organization’s commitment to improving lives and communities through charitable contributions and programs. Through strategic partnerships and programs, the foundation addresses the social drivers that will help create a healthier generation of Americans in communities served by Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans. The foundation focuses its funding on critical initiatives that make up the Healthy Generations Program, an intergenerational initiative that aims to: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts, and programs that people with Disabilities bring benefits. The foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program, which features 100 percent matching of employee donations, as well as the nonprofit Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers programs.
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Indianapolis is the local office of a national organization that helps community-led community development organizations transform needy communities and neighborhoods into healthy ones – good places to live, do business, work, and raise families. By providing capital, technical expertise, training and information, LISC supports the development of local leadership and the creation of affordable housing. commercial, industrial and municipal facilities; Companies; and jobs. In short, we help neighbors build communities.