- Assets: $29,669,325 (2009)
- Grants Received: $18,961,197 (2009)
- Grants Awarded: $12,027,034 (2009)
The Aetna Foundation was established in 1972 by John Filer, former Chairman of the Aetna Corporation, to function as the company's grant-making arm. Between 1980 and 2005, the Foundation contributed more than $270 million in grants, scholarships and social investments. A good portion of the Foundation's grants are geared toward reducing what it calls "disparities in health care access and services for racial and ethnic minorities and women" -- disparities it ascribes to the lingering "prejudice and intolerance" that permeate the health care system and American society at large. Aetna has developed "a new training program … to increase the awareness of racial and ethnic disparities for the 1,550 clinical staff members who interact with members, physicians, office managers, hospitals and other health care professionals." The Foundation makes a special effort to direct grants to what it terms "at-risk groups" through initiatives such as its "Maternity Management Program for African American women.”
To qualify for a “diversity” grant, a company must be a "Minority Business Enterprise" or "Women Business Enterprise," which the Foundation defines as "a company which is at least 51 percent owned, controlled, operated and managed by members of a minority group or non-minority women." By Aetna's definition, "Minority groups include African-Americans; Hispanic Americans; Native Americans; Asian-Indian Americans; and Asian-Pacific Americans."
The President of the Aetna Foundation is Marilda Lara Gándara, who joined Aetna in 1978 as an attorney specializing in real estate and environmental law. During the 1990s she was Managing Director and Vice President in Aetna's Real Estate Investments area. She is currently Co-Chair of the Latina Roundtable, an organization of professional and entrepreneurial Latinas with political, economic, and philanthropic agendas.
Among the Aetna Foundation's recent grantees are the following organizations: the Brookings Institution; the Children's Defense Fund; the Council on Foundations; the Greenlining Institute; the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty; the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy; the National Council of La Raza; the National Urban League; the National Women's Law Center; the Urban Institute; and the YWCA.
To view a list of additional noteworthy grantees of the Aetna Foundation, click here.
(Information on grantees and monetary amounts courtesy of The Foundation Center, GuideStar, ActivistCash, the Capital Research Center and Undue Influence)