• A group of young black people, smiling and posing in two rows in front of lush greenery and a sign that says FARM.

Bartram’s Garden receives a Cultivating Healthy Communities grant from the Aetna Foundation

Bartram’s Garden is one of just 25 organizations nationally that has been recognized by the Aetna Foundation’s Cultivating Healthy Communities program. The Foundation has awarded $100,000 over two years to support the Garden’s innovative education and wellness programs for its Southwest Philadelphia neighbors.

With this generous gift, we will offer a diverse range of programs that support youth leadership, intergenerational community-building, and opportunities to promote outdoor recreation and healthy habits. Our neighbors will enjoy bicycle rides, free river boating, and our award-winning farm and its focus on food sovereignty.

Says Maitreyi Roy, executive director at Bartram’s Garden, “We are grateful to the Aetna Foundation for acknowledging our work and for helping us to grow with our community. This project lays the groundwork for sharing healthy habits together. We expect to see many more smiling friends and neighbors as they ride bikes on the trail, kayak on the river, and grow their own healthy food. ”  

The Aetna Foundation developed the Cultivating Healthy Communities program to enhance a more comprehensive approach to health. Nearly 60% of a person’s life expectancy is driven by factors outside of the doctor’s office, including many–like social and environmental factors–that are often outside an individual’s control.

This year, Cultivating Healthy Communities awarded $2 million in grants to programs that benefit underserved communities by addressing social determinants of health, improving access to healthy foods, promoting biking and physical activity, and reducing exposure to air and water contaminants.

The grant was announced at the U.S. New and World Report Healthcare of Tomorrow Conference by Mark Bertolini, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Aetna. Locally, the Clean Air Council was also named as a grantee.

Photographs by Jessica Kourkounis