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Access to Health

Much of what determines a person’s health occurs outside the doctor’s office. Good health depends not just on access to quality medical care, but also the opportunity to live in an environment that is conducive to healthy living.

Healthy children perform better in school and healthy adults perform better in the workplace. The result is a thriving community where people are active and have access to healthy foods, and a local economy that benefits from millions of dollars saved on healthcare costs.

Tuberculosis Treatment

The spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis is one of many global challenges crying out for innovative solutions. Eli Lilly is fighting to end this epidemic, and they’re getting results.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are nine million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) every year. Approximately half a million of those cases are multidrug resistant (MDR), meaning they do not respond to standard treatments.

In partnership with United Way Worldwide's International Donor Advised Giving (IDAG) program, the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation is supporting efforts in China, India, South Africa, and Russia to change that. In the last five years alone, Lilly Foundation has committed $30 million to fund local and international partners that prepare healthcare providers to diagnose and treat MDR-TB, provide supports to patients and their families, and ensure only the highest-quality medicines are being used.

WHO estimates that the average untreated TB patient loses 20-30% of yearly household earnings. According to the World Bank, 4-7% of gross national product (GDP) in the hardest hit countries is lost to TB. The fight to roll back this epidemic is essential to building stronger communities and a robust global economy that works for everyone.

More about IDAG

United Way Worldwide’s International Donor Advised Giving (IDAG) program makes it possible for the Eli Lilly Foundation to get the right resources to the right partners, making the best use of local resources and simplifying communication across cultural differences. Throughout the last decade, IDAG has helped individual and corporate donors invest more than $300 million in great causes across 110 countries.

Youth Fitness

Childhood obesity is a national health crisis. With leadership from United Way, our nation’s capital is offering a model for how to keep our kids fit, healthy, and happy.

In 2009, United Way of the National Capital Area started Fun, Fly, & Fit, a child obesity initiative that encourages children and youth to be more physically active—in and out of school. Fun, Fly, & Fit started with only seven schools in Washington, D.C.; by its second year, it was in 55 sites and benefiting more than 10,000 elementary school students.

The initiative focuses on providing fun fitness opportunities for kids, education on nutrition for children and adults, and tools and incentives for individual sites to keep the initiative going year after year. In 2015, 882 children and youth participated in Fun, Fly, & Fit—and the results were impressive:

  • Participating kids averaged two to three times more minutes spent in physical activity than their peers.
  • 100% of participating kids recorded eating fruit at least twice per day, and vegetables at least three times per day.

This critically acclaimed initiative has even drawn the support of the NFL: in its first year, Washington Redskins defensive end André Carter and his wife Bethany promoted the program, and even led a group of kids through an NFL-style workout. The next year, the Redskins players showed up at eight program sites to exercise with kids for Hometown Huddle, an initiative made possible by the 40-year long national NFL-United Way partnership. 

More about the United Way-NFL Partnership

For more than 40 years, the National Football League (NFL) and United Way have fought for a better life and a stronger community—for everyone. Over the past decade, the partnership has focused its efforts on creating more opportunities for kids to get active and healthy through joint initiatives like the annual NFL & United Way Hometown Huddle, which has brought fun fitness programs to more than 35,000 kids.

This league wide day of service is designed to bring awareness and impact to the issue of youth health and wellness. During Hometown Huddle, NFL players, coaches and leadership participate in a variety of youth health events and service projects in different NFL cities across the country on the same day—building fitness zones, hosting youth football clinics, rebuilding neighborhood playgrounds, upgrading fitness facilities.

Health Insurance

Enrolling more people in health plans saves money and saves lives. In Chicago, Illinois, United Way is making sure people get the quality coverage they deserve.

Over the last three years, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and its partners have hired and trained more than 100 healthcare navigators to help more than 19,000 people enroll in health plans. By working alongside 14 community-based organizations and other partners that include Get Covered Illinois, Enroll America, and Young Invincibles, United Way has helped contribute to the reduction of the uninsured rate in Illinois from 17.8% to 10.6%

Results like these demonstrate that when we work together, we can create change on a scale that no single individual organization can accomplish alone. As they enter year four, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago is strengthening their efforts and expanding their network of partners, because a healthy community is a strong community, where everyone has more opportunity to succeed. 

Healthy Eating

We believe big things have small beginnings, and here’s proof: a childhood obesity initiative we helped start in Maine has spread across the U.S. and to other countries.

Let’s Go!, a program of The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, is a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention initiative working in Maine. The goal is to increase physical activity and healthy eating among children, through policy and environmental change.

The initiative promotes nutritious foods and activity, while encouraging limits on less healthy habits like sugary drinks, and time spent in front of the TV or computer. By collaborating with childcare programs, schools, school cafeterias, out-of-school time programs, and health care practices, Let’s Go! impacts many settings in people’s daily lives.

In Maine in 2015, Let’s Go! reached:

  • 8,000 children in child care programs
  • 65,000 students in schools
  • 8,500 children in out-of-school programs
  • 350,000 children in health care practices
  • 94,000 children in school cafeterias

United Way of Greater Portland is a founding and ongoing partner of Let’s Go!, and was the administrative home for the project during the 5 year demonstration phase when it was developed and tested. It is now a statewide program and can be found in many states in the US, and even in other countries.