BLOOMFIELD, CT -- The Cigna Foundation is inviting nonprofits working to create greater access to mental health services to apply for funding through its Healthier Kids For Our Future grant program. The program will provide up to a total of $5 million in grants to community organizations over the next year.
Healthier Kids For Our Future is a five-year, $25 million global initiative to improve the health and well-being of children that launched in 2019. Phase I focused on reducing childhood hunger and improving nutrition, awarding more than $4.5 million in grants to-date.
In Phase II, the program will add an additional focus area, addressing the mental health and well-being of children. Nonprofits working to improve childhood hunger can still apply as well.
Many families across the country are facing increased stress and anxiety right now. Prior to COVID-19, up to 20 percent of children and adolescents worldwide experienced mental illness(1), and the pandemic is shedding light on a worsening mental health crisis – as both children and adults are struggling with anxiety, loneliness, and isolation.(2) Cigna's 2018 Loneliness Index also found that Generation Z (ages 18-22) are the loneliest generation and claim to be in the worst health.(3)
"With Cigna and the Cigna Foundation operating around the world, we see how a lack of quality nutrition in children can lead to long-lasting physical and mental health problems," said Susan Stith, executive director, Cigna Foundation. "That's why we're looking to continue to partner with organizations that are already working to positively impact the health and well-being of children. Given what we're seeing play out through Cigna's landmark loneliness study, and the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on childhood hunger and mental health, it's more important than ever to connect the dots among communities and schools as we work together to reach more children in need."
The Cigna Foundation is looking to partner with school systems and surrounding communities – including clinicians, local and national nonprofits – to supplement existing programming for children to help close gaps both within and outside the school environment.
Programming requirements should include:
- Food insecurity, hunger or nutrition education programs.
- Mental health programs with a focus on loneliness, anxiety, depression and suicide prevention.
- Grants will be considered for school-based or non-school-based programming, and summertime programs. In some instances, multi-year requests will be considered.
To determine grant eligibility, start here.
About Cigna Foundation
Cigna Foundation, established in 1962, is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE:CI) and its subsidiaries. Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna employees live and work.
(1) World Health Organization. Child and adolescent mental health.
(2) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Stress and Coping. 2020.