Aug 9, 2023
The Cigna Group Foundation and Valley of the Sun YMCA Partner to Improve Vitality, Reduce Isolation Among Seniors
$150,000 over three years will support programming designed to enhance social connections and inspire community engagement.

Bloomfield, Conn., and Phoenix, Ariz., August 9, 2023 –The Cigna Group Foundation announced the kickoff of programming funded as part of a multi-year $150,000 partnership with the Valley of the Sun YMCA to help local seniors improve their health and well-being, which according to research, underpin vitality. The Valley of the Sun YMCA hosted a check presentation ceremony on Tuesday, August 8 at the YMCA Outreach Program for Aging Seniors (Y-OPAS) monthly social at the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA.

The Valley of the Sun YMCA will use this funding to engage seniors in social activities to reduce isolation and to improve access to healthcare. This will include its Y-OPAS program, which provides services to seniors such as transportation to medical appointments, shopping, and errands, as well as monthly luncheons and fitness classes that promote and support self-sufficiency and independent living.

“Social connections are essential for physical and mental health at all ages, and the Y has long been a place for seniors to connect with others,” said Jeff Holt, Evernorth Care Group president and general manager, a medical practice division of The Cigna Group. “Our partnership with the Valley of the Sun YMCA aims to reach seniors and empower them to strengthen their health and vitality. We are excited to partner with the YMCA to reach more people at pivotal stages of their lives with programming to support their health, well-being and more vital communities.”  

The Cigna Group's proprietary research of 10,000 U.S. adults indicates that less than one in five U.S. adults experience high vitality - defined as the capacity to pursue life’s joys with health, strength and energy.

“Positive mental health is, in part, fostered by our communities and the people we surround ourselves with, and the Y has long been a place for members in our community to meet and connect – whether through exercise or social events,” said Dr. Rodgers Wilson, national medical executive for behavioral health, Evernorth. “This event is just one way we’ll work together over the next three years to help the older adults in the area stay connected, stay healthy and live with high vitality.”

This partnership is part of a $1 million grant by The Cigna Group Foundation to the Y-USA to help improve the vitality of local communities. The grant will also support programming in Memphis, Nashville, Houston, and St. Louis.

"We're grateful to The Cigna Group Foundation for their generous support and a shared mission to enhance the well-being of seniors in our community," said Bryan Madden, CEO of the Valley of the Sun YMCA. "Through our combined efforts, we plan to utilize this funding to mobilize seniors, reduce their isolation, and improve their access to vital healthcare services."

About The Cigna Group Foundation

The Cigna Group Foundation is a private foundation funded by contributions from The Cigna Group (NYSE:CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna Group Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where employees of The Cigna Group live and work.

About the YMCA 

Driven by its founding mission, the Y has served as a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community for more than 175 years. The Y empowers everyone, no matter who they are or where they’re from, by ensuring access to resources, relationships, and opportunities for all to learn, grow and thrive. By bringing together people from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations, the Y’s goal is to improve overall health and well-being, ignite youth empowerment and demonstrate the importance of connections in and across 10,000 communities nationwide. Learn more at

Media Contact:

JT Turner
Executive Director of PR & Communications, YMCA
1 (602) 317-1287

Karla Cutting, Cigna
1 (312) 218-7061