Celebrating Our Shared Work In 2019

As we reflect on the past year, we have many reasons to celebrate our achievements and look forward to 2020. One of our fondest memories of 2019 was bringing together our Strategic Community Investment partners for two days to share learnings, best practices and challenges. As part of the first Foundation Summit, our partners shared success stories and brought program participants to share their personal experiences.  

Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) received a Foundation investment to fund Senior Planet San Antonio, a program that helps seniors use technology to connect to others and increase their well-being. Dollie, a Senior Planet San Antonio participant, shared her remarkable story of how she created greater social connections and improved her quality of life by attending OATS classes. Here's how she described her experience:

"OATS is the best thing that ever happened to me… Thanks to OATS, I’m now known as a professional driver, driving for the railroad. I went from zero to professional driver in about five days. Before I completed the OATS class, I was working, and I got a paycheck. I am so grateful. A 98-year-old man took the classes with me, and he got it. He was one of the honor students. If you all know anyone that wants to help themselves, they can. You can help yourself no matter how old you are or what you’ve been through. There is hope."

If you have a moment, you can watch Dollie tell her story in her own words here.

Another 2019 memory that stands out highlights the greater impact of collaborations. Our Community Partners Program focuses on increasing well-being for all in Louisville, working beyond financial investments to create long-term change. We partnered with Haaylo Media and awarded one of our 2019 Community Partners Program organizations free marketing communication services. Through this partnership and deployment of our SMIRF (social, moral, intellectual, reputational and financial) capital, St. John Center for Homeless Men received much needed support to create a video promoting their annual fundraiser in 2020 that will be repurposed to help the organization continue funding its work in the future.

"The full video will be viewed by over 500 people at Raisin' the Rent and is designed to 'make the case' to participants, motivating them to contribute to our mission. We expect to raise over $90,000 during the "Fund the Mission" call that follows the video. The video will also be broken down into one-minute clips that we will use in social media, our e-newsletter and email outreach to our supporters. We hope it will increase our capacity to reach new audiences and to convey the effectiveness of our work and the power of our mission."

- Jane Walsh, Director of Mission Advancement, St. John Center for Homeless Men

Although 2019 is coming to a close, the success stories from this year's Community Partners Program continue. Last Friday, 20 students graduated from Louisville Skills, a partnership program between Interapt and the University of Louisville that teaches valuable software skills to historically marginalized adults in Louisville's West End. Louisville Skills is intensive and requires a significant commitment from participants – 40 hours per week for three months. The graduating class includes 10 people who were unemployed or earning less than $12,000 per year, two veterans interested in entering the tech industry, three single mothers hoping to re-enter the workforce and three immigrants.

Each of these students graduated with a job offer in hand from companies such as GE Appliances, Interapt and Humana, improving financial assets and employment opportunities by preparing participants for careers in the tech industry. You can read a recent Courier Journal article about Sonny Fishback and April Hickman, two Louisville Skills participants, and their journey to sustained employment here.

Sonny Fishback's education on the streets of Louisville left out a lot of basic skills.

He'd never been shown how to keep track of money, to file income taxes or save for bills. No one at home queried him about homework or grades …

… Graduation this month could pave the way to a year-long apprenticeship with a potential paycheck of up to $40,000.

"Just seeing I can do something," Fishback said, is amazing. And transformative. It's allowed him to dream.

- "This intensive course prepares Louisville’s low-income areas for the booming tech industry," Louisville Courier Journal, Dec. 17, 2019

At a strategic level in 2019, The Humana Foundation continued transitioning from the practice of "distributing money" to investing in programs with a strong return on philanthropic investment. Each of our investment partners now has clear quarterly milestones that tell us if they are on track to achieve program results. Those results are commitments, not aspirations. And, those results are tangible in the personal stories illustrated by OATS and Louisville Skills participants above.

As we've seen in 2019, relationships drive results. Be it the relationships forged between our community partners and their participants or the relationships The Humana Foundation made with co-funders such as the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation in Baton Rouge and the Health Equity Fund in Louisville, we know working together, pooling resources and sharing learnings is key to making sustainable change in communities.

We've taken an enormous step forward in our technology capabilities this year, rebuilding HumanaFoundation.org and engaging Benevity to power Humana Together. A collaborative effort between the Foundation and Humana's Associate Well-being Team, Humana Together simplifies charitable giving and volunteering for Humana employees. Our external partners can use Humana Together to apply for Foundation programs and to promote volunteer opportunities, easily harnessing the power and skillset of Humana employees to improve communities across the U.S. 

Our work to increase well-being was formally recognized by Louisville's Business First. For the second year in a row, Humana and The Humana Foundation received the Partners in Philanthropy award.  As we continue to advance The Humana Foundation's mission of greater health equity for all, honors like this highlight the importance of our work and show that sustainable progress is possible.

Looking ahead, I know 2020 will be off to a good start for The Humana Foundation. We will open applications for our 2020 Community Partners Program in January, and we look forward to the privilege and challenge of selecting the next cohort of grant recipients. We will announce our newest Strategic Community Investment in New Orleans shortly after, and we are excited to help another community on the path toward greater health equity. And, to help us tell these and other stories of increased well-being, we will soon unveil a new Humana Foundation Twitter account.

Our work extends well past the accomplishments listed above. We continue to look for ways to help our partners make sustainable change in their communities and extend all of our resources to efforts to create lifelong well-being.

2019 was quite the year for us here at The Humana Foundation – thank you for being a part of it and for helping us realize the importance of corporate philanthropy serving not only as an expression of corporate values but also an important instrument for value creation.

CategoriesBold GoalCommunity Partners ProgramHumana TogetherLouisvilleStrategic Community Investment ProgramThought Leadership