Knoxville, TN

In its inaugural year in Knoxville, the Humana Communities Benefit program will award a $350,000 grant to an eligible nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization that intends to improve the health and well-being of communities it serves.

To help determine the winner of the $350,000 funding, the Humana Foundation asked the public to participate in this online community vote. The outcome of the online vote counts for 20 percent of the nonprofit’s total score and is incorporated into the final round of the judging process, when a panel of community leaders narrows the finalists down to one winning organization in each city. The winners will be announced on the week of September 21st.

Scroll down to check out each nonprofit’s story.


InterFaith Health Clinic

InterFaith Health Clinic exists to provide accessible, affordable, and quality health care to the low-income, working uninsured and underserved regardless of race, sex, creed, age, religion, national origin, or ability to pay.

As a fixture in Knoxville’s healthcare community since 1991, InterFaith has provided over 300,000 patient encounters to over 24,000 individual patients.  InterFaith provides comprehensive medical, dental, mental health care, and prescription medications on a sliding fee scale to individuals who would otherwise delay care, go into debt to receive care, or simply do without. In essence, InterFaith provides a “hand up” – not a handout – to low-income workers who have nowhere else to turn for health care.

InterFaith lowers barriers to health care (such as cost) and increases accessibility for low-income patients (ex: by offering evening clinics for patients who work day shift and can’t afford to miss work). The clinic’s medicine dispensary provides patients with $2 million in prescription medications each year, and patients have access to lifesaving specialty care and hospitalizations all according to InterFaith’s sliding fee scale.

In summary, InterFaith strives to provide an affordable medical home to low-income workers so they can experience an improved quality of life and become contributing members of our community.

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If we win

If InterFaith wins, we will create a Healthy Living Kitchen Classroom to equip low-income patients struggling with diabetes and CHF to manage their disease, thus improving their quality of life. To make permanent changes, you have to give people the tools to succeed.  If we win, we will:

Educate – We will equip participants with cost-effective, impactful, and relevant knowledge that produces results.  Example:  If you can’t afford fresh fruits and vegetables, buy frozen.  If you don’t have a freezer, buy canned fruits and vegetables in natural juices without added salt.

Encourage & mentor – We will celebrate every success.  Peers will make the journey together.  Mentors will provide information, encouragement, and hand-holding when necessary.

Provide a positive environment – InterFaith will provide an environment that takes the fear out of change.  Participants won’t worry about being the “overweight” person in the class.  We will all be dealing with similar problems in similar situations.

Partnerships with the United Way of Greater Knoxville, Knox County Health Department, and UT Medical Center have already been established to broaden the scope and impact of this initiative and ensure that participants are empowered to improve their health so they can continue being contributing members of the community.

Lincoln Memorial University

Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a private, non-profit university dedicated to providing a values-based education in the liberal arts and professional studies. The University strives to give students a foundation for a more productive life by upholding the principles of President Abraham Lincoln’ life.  The University believes that one of the major cornerstones of meaningful existence is service to humanity.

Service learning is a model of education embraced by LMU. Faculty, staff, and students engage in a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen local and regional communities.

LMU has a history of successful faculty supervised student engagement including providing medical coverage within the Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinics; community Head Start screenings; Sports Medical evaluations for grade and high school students; and implementing medical student clinics at Servolution Health Services, a rural free clinic. Other community activities which are student created and implemented are IRS tax preparation clinics, literary and reading enrichment programs for elementary students, fund raising events for the Second Harvest; Alzheimer’s Organization; American Cancer Society and community service projects to impoverished regions of Appalachia and international countries.

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If we win

In partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, Lincoln Memorial University’s (LMU) “Healthy Lifestyles” Program will serve Boys & Girls Club youth, ages 5 to 17, across 21 Club locations in Knox, Blount, Loudon, and Anderson Counties. In year two, the program will partner with Senior Citizens Home Assistance Services to serve senior adults who live at the Renaissance Towers. Humana employees will serve as project volunteers.

University students in the Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science (HPEES) Department will be linked with youth involved in Boys and Girls Club sport leagues to be mentors. Mentors will develop and monitor individualized fitness plans for participants.

LMU’s Osteopathic Medicine and Nursing students and faculty will assess the individual health needs and risk factors of youth and seniors at health clinics, develop a specific plan of care, and follow through with direct medical care or referral to a specialist, coaching, and mentoring. Focus will be on diabetes prevention and control, emphasis on healthy life-styles, and encouraging physical activity. This innovative project will enable Knoxville’s most vulnerable youth and seniors to receive access to life-enhancing and inter-professional health care and live healthy lives.

University of Tennessee Medical Center

The University of Tennessee Medical Center has a rich history of serving our patients through healing, education and research. As the region’s academic medical center, UT Medical Center is comprised of six Centers of Excellence and serves as a referral center for East Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky and Western North Carolina.

The medical center is committed to transforming our community by minimizing barriers to improve health and increasing access for patients living with heart failure. Some of the benefits provided to the community take many forms—such as community education, free screenings, seminars, as well as training for health professionals. In addition, the medical center coordinates with local and state partners to discuss goals and develop programs designed to address the public’s most pressing health concerns.

Underlining our commitment to quality and patient care, the medical center is a Magnet® recognized hospital and Level I Trauma Center that has achieved voluntary accreditation and designation through organizations such as The Joint Commission, a U.S. News and World Report Best Hospital, TNCPE Level 3 Achievement, Get with the Guidelines (GWTG) American Heart Association (AHA) Stroke Gold Plus, Target: Stroke Elite Plus Honor Roll, and GWTG AHA Heart Failure Gold Plus.

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If we win

UT Medical Center will collaborate with community partners to improve access to resources and minimize barriers for those living with heart failure (HF), a chronic condition where the heart is weak and works harder to pump blood through the body. Many suffering with HF cannot afford the resources needed to improve their quality of life.

Enhanced collaboration with community partners will expand resources in Knox, Sevier and Loudon counties.

Some of our community partners include:

  • Healthy Living Kitchen – providing heart healthy meal planning education
  • Knox County Office on Aging – aid in interventions to help keep participants healthy at home
  • Rural/Metro – provide home visits, monitoring of weight and vital signs, and coordination of transportation
  • Belew Drug  – provide medication management through education, home visits, adherence packaging, and aligning medications to be refilled on the same day
  • ETHRA/ETAAAD – assist with referrals to the program, outreach and access to transportation

With this grant, the “4 Your Heart” program will work with our partners to provide essential resources such as; exercise management; scales for weight and vital signs monitoring; nutritional counseling; healthy cooking classes;  home visits; HF coaching calls; social and interactive support; medication management and transportation.