Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) and its philanthropic arm, the Aetna Foundation, awarded $19.2 million in 2011 to nonprofit organizations working to improve people’s health, particularly those from underserved populations, and to increase their access to high-quality health care. Much of the funding was directed at reversing the obesity epidemic in adults and children, promoting racial and ethnic health equity and advancing integrated health care and care coordination. In addition, grants were made to programs addressing veterans’ needs, diversity and inclusion and community development. Aetna employees, retirees and directors donated an additional $5.5 million in 2011 through the company's matching gift program, bringing combined giving in communities where Aetna employees and customers live and work to $24.7 million. Additionally, Aetna’s employees generously volunteered nearly 340,000 hours of their personal time and talents in 2011. “Providing people with tools to live healthier lives drives our business and our philanthropy,” said Mark Bertolini, chairman, CEO, and president of Aetna Inc. and chairman of the Aetna Foundation. “Our 2011 charitable giving focused on helping people take charge of their health. We supported nutrition education, better access to high-quality health care and efforts to make our health care system more equitable and effective.” Programs receiving grants include those that make fresh fruits and vegetables available in food deserts, offer prenatal care to women at high risk of premature birth, and investigate ways to enhance primary care that puts the patient’s needs first. In 2011, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation directed $4.8 million in the fight against obesity, $3.2 million to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care, and $2.5 million to promote integrated health care and care coordination in primary care settings. Complementing the grant making by Aetna and the Aetna Foundation was the commitment by thousands of Aetna employees to encourage healthy lifestyles by donating their time to company-sponsored volunteer efforts or individual initiatives.