Helping to Rebuild a Community in Pain
UnitedHealth Group partnerships focus on foundational support for the Twin Cities following civil unrest
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragic death in May and the civil unrest that followed, many businesses in the Twin Cities were damaged or destroyed, including Seward Pharmacy and several others along Lake Street in Minneapolis.
“We lost overnight what we built for … years,” Seward Pharmacy owner Elias Usso said.
Shortly thereafter, UnitedHealth Group stepped in to help pick up the pieces, engaging with the community to restore the pharmacy. Hands-on volunteers worked to repaint and rebuild Seward, which plans to expand home deliveries, offer telehealth services and provide more one-on-one consultations to patients.
“UnitedHealth Group will be able to help us (do) what we wanted to do when we first opened this pharmacy,” Usso said.
The effort at Seward, underscored by grant and pro bono consulting support and in partnership with Heart of America, is one of several ways UnitedHealth Group is taking action to restore the Twin Cities amid tragedy. The company is also partnering with Minnesota Community Care to activate mobile clinics to serve youth, ages 11-22 with primary care, mental health support, social services and pharmacy services, and to provide an increased presence at community-based locations to link clients to needed services.
Meanwhile, through a collaboration with the West Broadway Business & Area Coalition/Northside Funders, UnitedHealth Group is establishing a “Healthy Northside” fund to help organizations in North Minneapolis focused on wellness — such as pharmacies, grocery stories and child- and elder-care centers — reopen and rebuild.
And a similar partnership between UnitedHealth Group and the Lake Street Council has established a “Healthy Lake Street” fund, which will help organizations and small business that were damaged to make repairs and restock inventory.
“I am proud to live in an area where our community leaders, our civic organizations and our corporate citizens have come together to address the anger, the frustration and the uncertainty,” said UnitedHealthcare of Minnesota CEO Brett Edelson, who called UnitedHealth Group’s efforts a “sustained commitment” to support healing and rebuilding.
In total, UnitedHealth Group’s response to date to rebuild and restore the health of the Twin Cities totals $5 million.
Collaborating to Aid Those in Need
Such partnerships are among of the many ways UnitedHealth Group is building on its commitment to support the Minneapolis-St. Paul community. In June, UnitedHealth Group also created a $5 million partnership with the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities and its Equity Innovation Center of Excellence to advance equity, foster inclusivity and accelerate systemic change, work that is currently underway.
Additionally, a collaboration between UnitedHealth Group, Loaves & Fishes and the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities provided food to those in need. The coordinated effort included the use of kitchens at its Optum headquarters in Eden Prairie, the preparation of more than 1.1 million meals for Minnesotans from March through September, and Loaves & Fishes distribution of the meals at YMCA locations and 28 additional sites throughout the greater Twin Cities area each day. This partnership was extended in mid-November to provide meal support for six weeks throughout the 2020 holiday season.
With its corporate headquarters located just outside Minneapolis, UnitedHealth Group recognizes the unique opportunity to help support the health and wellbeing of the Twin Cities and communities across the country. UnitedHealth Group is committed to leading the development of a next-generation health system in a socially conscious way — a system that increases access to care, makes care more affordable, enhances the care experience and improves health outcomes.