March 29, 2016

The YMCA of Central Florida launches three-year pilot program to combat preventable chronic illnesses in lower-income workers with evidence-based programs and services.

ORLANDO – March 29, 2016 – The YMCA of Central Florida today shared details of a three-year pilot program surrounding employee wellness and chronic disease prevention that was designed in partnership with the 19th largest employer in the world, Sodexo.  A $700,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation will support the Communities for Health workforce wellness program reaching lower-income workers, such as front-line workers, an employee population that is typically hard to reach with traditional employee wellness programs.  The partnership marks the largest grant from Kresge to any YMCA organization and is the result of the organizations’ aligned missions to create access and opportunity in underserved communities, improving the lives of those in need.

A national leader in prevention, the YMCA of Central Florida is taking a holistic approach to community wellness. Communities for Health enhances traditional and mostly underutilized employee wellness programs with evidence-based programs that focus on behavior changes, increasing likelihood of success. The initiative is designed to combat preventable chronic illnesses that rack up healthcare expenditures, which increase costs for individuals, companies, insurers and the government.

“We share Kresge’s commitment to improving the health of our communities and are thrilled and humbled to receive their support,” said John Cardone, senior vice president of the YMCA of Central Florida. “This partnership provides us the additional resources we need to expand our reach, target public health challenges and address common chronic diseases.”

The Kresge grant now enhances the Y’s ability to expand the Communities for Health pilot program within Central Florida and to make the program available to more organizations.  The program is boasting early success indicators in employee engagement and participation rates that outperform national averages, including a 71 percent enrollment rate in a personalized health-based solution.

“Communities for Health demonstrates a key need to create a healthier population by taking a community-centered approach to promoting healthy lives,” said Phyllis Meadows, senior fellow at The Kresge Foundation. “This program demonstrates a supportive approach to reaching underserved populations and Orlando’s workforce is prime for the program’s interventions.  As the program continues to develop, The Kresge Foundation looks forward to seeing it launched in additional American cities.”

“With chronic health conditions, and associated costs to treat these conditions on the rise, individuals and their employers cannot afford wellness programs that do not show results,” said Sodexo’s Senior Director of Health & Well-Being Nebeyou Abebe. “Through our partnership with the YMCA of Central Florida, we are creating a coordinated support system that delivers solutions tailored to individual needs to help families live healthier, happier and more productive lives.”

The partnership and grant will support the initiative, which was developed to provide a unique approach to workforce wellness that promotes long term, sustainable behavior changes.  Differentiators include:

  1. Strong peer-to-peer engagement.
  2. Personalized solutions for low risk, at-risk and high-risk participants.
  3. Personal, post-screening supportwith YMCA Lifestyle Coaches and Sodexo registered dietitians throughout the year.
  4. Convenient support, provided at YMCAs and other neighborhood venues, reaching participants where they live, work or play.
  5. Strategically utilized incentives to encourage and boost employee participation.

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The YMCA of Central Florida is one of the area’s largest nonprofits committed to strengthening communities across Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard, Lake and Marion counties and the local communities it serves. It is a diverse organization of men, women and children joined by a shared commitment to Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. Each day 35,000 Central Florida residents are impacted by the Y when a mentor inspires a child, individuals make healthy choices and a community comes together for common good. In 2014, this YMCA Association of over 1,800 employees across engaged over 235,000 residents and invested, during a challenging economy, $10.2 million in its local communities. The YMCA of Central Florida also provided $9.4 million in financial assistance to children and families, which supported lasting personal and social change.

Sodexo is the global leader in services that improve Quality of Life, an essential factor in individual and organizational performance. Operating in 80 countries, Sodexo serves 75 million consumers each day through its unique combination of On-site Services, Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Through its more than 100 services, Sodexo provides clients an integrated offering developed over nearly 50 years of experience: from food services, reception, safety, maintenance and cleaning, to facilities and equipment management; from Meal Pass, Gift Pass and Mobility Pass benefits for employees to in-home assistance and concierge services. Sodexo’s success and performance are founded on its independence, its sustainable business and financial model and its ability to continuously develop and to engage the commitment of its 420,000 employees throughout the world.

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.6 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development in Detroit. In 2015, the Board of Trustees approved 371 grants totaling $125.1 million, and nine social investment commitments totaling $20.3 million. For more information, visit kresge.org.