Cigna Foundation: Making Partnership Meaningful

Posted on: November 13th, 2014 by Arogya World

by Nalini Saligram and Pamela Yih
Arogya World Board members

Yesterday, the Cigna Foundation announced $260,000 in funding for our mHealth2.0 project in India. This grant was made as part of their World of Difference Grant Program. As a non-profit that spends a lot of time seeking funding, we can say that this grant is making a world of difference for Arogya World, and for preventing chronic disease.

For us, the most refreshing and incredible feature of this partnership is how Cigna is getting their employees deeply involved with our work. For example, Cigna’s innovation and technology teams are working with us to define what our mHealth2.0 app will look like. Cigna Foundation executives have used their personal networks to get additional connections going for us in India with local celebrity chefs. And, Cigna has invited us to join more than 20 of their top physicians who will provide their expertise on non-communicable diseases at an off-site retreat later this month. In an additional display of support, CignaTTK’s CEO in India, Mr. Sandeep Patel, traveled from Mumbai to Bangalore to attend our Healthy Workplace Awards event earlier this week. At the global level and in India, Cigna has embraced our work.

This is the largest philanthropic donation Arogya World has received to date, and it is also Cigna Foundation’s largest World of Difference grant this year. When we attended our kick-off meeting with Cigna a few weeks ago, we were impressed with their true spirit of partnership and the steps they are taking to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship. As we reflected on the meeting, we both felt optimistic about what we’ll accomplish together, and wondered whether this is indeed a new model for grantor-grantee success. The World of Difference program, which is “nourishing ‘incubators for innovation,’” goes beyond financial support to make success much more likely and more impactful.

The project that will benefit from Cigna’s support is mHealth2.0. This project integrates Healthy Workplaces with mDiabetes, which has helped 150,000 Indians lead healthier lives. With mHealth2.0, we believe we can have greater impact – and help one million people lead healthier lives over the next few years.

We are grateful to Cigna Foundation for taking meaningful measures—financial, technological, medical, networking, and more—to help us achieve our goal!