Jersey Cares Launches Health in the Community Initiative to Improve Access to Nutrition and Fitness Education at Essex County Schools with Grant from the Aetna Foundation

[Newark, NJ, April 11, 2019] Jersey Cares,a nonprofit organization that recruits and engages volunteers in rewarding, effective efforts that address community-identified needs, today announced the launch of the Health in the Community Initiative during an event at Sussex Avenue Renew School in Newark, New Jersey. The Essex County school-based project was made possible by a $250,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation, a philanthropic arm of CVS Health (NYSE: CVS). The event consisted of a formal check presentation and was complemented by volunteer activities with elementary students that took place throughout the school.

The Health in the Community Initiative is an innovative, cross-sector collaborative, inspiring a culture of health in schools through the implementation of fun nutrition and fitness education for K-5th graders across Newark, New Jersey, with extended benefits to families and peers of the children reached. Additionally, onsite gardening programs for students will support the instruction education, to include building of greenhouses and gardens at each school. Enhanced outdoor spaces will be created to encourage active play as classroom and activity-based fitness workshops are provided. We believe that by connecting kids to a lifestyle of health and wellness while in elementary school we can affect their relationship to food and ensure kids develop healthier habits and grow up to lead healthier, more productive lives.

“Health in the Community is a ground-up program that will be evolved through the participation of parents, guardians, teachers, and school leaders, built with the incredibly generous support of the Aetna Foundation and powered by the intention to give children a real, sustainable likelihood of a healthy and brighter future,” said Brian Dean, President and CEO of Jersey Cares. “This initiative is a compelling opportunity to demonstrate what all of us can accomplish by working together as individuals and as organizations.”

“At CVS Health, we know that the path to good health starts locally in our schools and homes. Today we are excited to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with the team at Jersey Cares on this important initiative with the Newark school system,” said Dr. Garth Graham, President of the Aetna Foundation. “The Health in the Community Initiative is an innovative project that will give students and their families’ access to the tools they need to make good decisions when it comes to nutrition and fitness, critical components to establishing long-lasting health and wellness.”

Jersey Cares will establish a new division, built on its existing model of addressing community needs via well-managed volunteers that will focus exclusively on developing and delivering this healthy living program. For 25 years, Jersey Cares has engaged New Jersey residents in solving the challenges faced by their communities. Jersey Cares’ expertise lies in delivering, via a cadre of volunteers, impactful programs of the model proposed herein to improve the nutritional habits of children in Newark. Jersey Cares works with each of hundreds of nonprofits every year to help them analyze the potential for volunteers to accomplish their goals and then recruits thousands of volunteers to do just that. Since 2006, Jersey Cares has intentionally expanded from offering programs that engaged close to 2,000 volunteers and gave slightly over 4,000 hours of service to providing programs that engaged more than 26,000 volunteers to produce over 89,000 hours of service last year. This growth is indicative of the effectiveness of the Jersey Cares model of utilizing civic participation to deliver efficient, impactful programs.

The Aetna Foundation grant to Jersey Cares builds upon the outstanding tradition of community investment by CVS Health and Aetna and advances our purpose of helping people on their path to better health. For more information on the Health in the Community project, please visit:

About Jersey Cares

Jersey Cares is a dynamic nonprofit organization that meets community needs by making volunteering in New Jersey easy and meaningful. Jersey Cares works directly with local nonprofit organizations and schools, identifying their needs and training volunteer leaders to manage projects that address them. Jersey Cares offers meaningful volunteer opportunities that showcase the rewards of civic engagement and address some of our communities’ most serious needs. For more information, please visit

About CVS Health

CVS Health is the nation’s premier health innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Whether in one of its pharmacies or through its health services and plans, CVS Health is pioneering a bold new approach to total health by making quality care more affordable, accessible, simple and seamless. CVS Health is community-based and locally focused, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it. The Company has more than 9,800 retail locations, approximately 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with approximately 93 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, expanding specialty pharmacy services, and a leading stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. CVS Health also serves an estimated 39 million people through traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including a rapidly expanding Medicare Advantage offering. This innovative health care model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at

About the Aetna Foundation

The Aetna Foundation is an independent charitable and philanthropic affiliate of CVS Health (NYSE:CVS). As a national health foundation, the Aetna Foundation promotes wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of company employees, who volunteered 670,000 hours in 2018 alone. For more information, visit