December 09, 2020
AbbVie Announces Partners in $50 Million Program to Promote Health and Education Equity in Underserved Black Communities

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill.Dec. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, is investing $50 million in a five-year program to support underserved Black communities across the United States. AbbVie will collaborate with six nonprofit partners, including Direct ReliefUniversity of Chicago Medicine's Urban Health InitiativeNational Urban LeagueYear UpUnited Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Providence St. Mel School, to support health and education opportunity in underserved Black communities.

"The private sector has a responsibility to help address racial inequity issues plaguing our nation," said Richard A. Gonzalez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AbbVie. "We believe investing in this important work – in partnership with national and local nonprofits – will create immediate opportunities and advance meaningful and lasting change."

Supporting health and educational equity, as well as advancing opportunity, have been an integral part of AbbVie's ongoing philanthropic commitment. Since the company was formed in 2013, AbbVie has donated more than $120 million to diverse underserved communities, and in June of this year, the company announced an additional donation of $5 million to NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Equal Justice Initiative.

"We asked partners with deep community roots where they saw the greatest needs, and we heard that reducing health disparities and providing educational and workforce-related opportunities for underserved Black communities were urgent yet ongoing needs," said Karen Hale, Vice President, Deputy General Counsel at AbbVie, who spearheaded AbbVie's initiative. "While we know that change cannot happen overnight, we hope our commitments will help improve opportunity today while supporting important work to address long-term, systemic issues of racism." 

AbbVie's 5-year, $50 million Program to Address Racial Inequities 

1.      Promote Health Equity for Black Americans and Other Historically Underserved Populations:

  • $8 Million to University of Chicago Medicine's Urban Health Initiative to empower Chicago's South Side community—made up of 77 percent Black residents— to advance health equity. AbbVie's support will enable local teams of community health workers to promote access to care and resources proven to measurably reduce health disparities. 
  • $10 Million to Direct Relief to support the improvement of health care services at free and charitable clinics and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). AbbVie's support will launch the "Fund for Health Equity," which will improve care across the country in underserved Black communities.

2.      Foster Workforce Development Opportunities for Black Americans 

  • $10 Million to UNCF Healthcare Diversity Workforce Program, as seed funding to reduce barriers to advancement in health professions and increase the number of Black professionals in a wide variety of health care careers. Scholarship, academic and career development support will be provided to students who are interested in a career in health care, but who might otherwise not have an opportunity to go beyond high school. 
  • $10 Million to Year Up to support its training and internship program for more than 600 young adults (ages 18-26). AbbVie's support will enable technical skills training that is relevant and aligned with industry demand.

3.      Expand Educational Opportunities for Historically Underserved Youth and Young Adults

  • $1.5 Million to Providence St. Mel School (PSM) to fund scholarships for high school students living in Chicago's Southwest side based on financial need and academic potential. This independent, predominantly Black high school has had a 100 percent college acceptance rate since 1978.
  • $7 Million to National Urban League's Project Ready Mentorto lead a mentorship program for Black Americans and other historically underserved youth (ages 11-18). AbbVie's funding will provide mentorship in three new cities and expand existing programs in 11 cities to improve post-secondary success.

4.      Encouraging Employees to Support Justice Reform Organizations with a 3:1 match.

  • $3.5 Million in Reserve: As part of today's announcement, AbbVie is expanding its employee matching program to $3-to-$1 for donations to civil rights nonprofits fostering racial equity.

Partner Perspectives

University of Chicago's Urban Health Initiative – "With AbbVie's support, we are able to greatly expand the University of Chicago Medicine's community health initiatives and partnerships for the Black residents of Chicago's South Side communities, who experience disproportionately high rates of chronic health conditions, violence, and unemployment stemming from generations of structural inequality," said Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, Dean and Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Chicago Medicine. "These community-based programs are vital resources that help increase access to care, reduce health disparities, and improve the well-being of people living in our surrounding neighborhoods."

Direct Relief  "AbbVie's extraordinary philanthropic commitment announced today has helped catalyze Direct Relief's launch of a Fund for Health Equity, which will provide financial support to expand access and strengthen health services in Black communities at federally qualified and other locally run efforts that serve in those communities," said Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief President and CEO. "These locally run organizations understand better than anyone both the challenges that exist and what works, and despite that for more than 50 years they have demonstrated unmatched commitment and provably effective results, private philanthropic support has been very limited. Direct Relief is deeply thankful for AbbVie recognizing and taking such a strong leadership step that will allow these organizations to do more of what they do best and help redress chronic disparities in health that the Covid pandemic has tragically highlighted and made worse."

National Urban League – "We are proud to partner with AbbVie in our ongoing effort to help Black and other historically underserved youth achieve post-secondary academic success through our signature Education & Youth Development program, Project Ready Mentor," said National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial. "AbbVie funding leverages public mentoring investments and allows us to continue to surround young people with a range of supports, services, and opportunities to help them develop into well rounded, productive, and responsible adults. Racial equity and change requires commitment and partners who understand that supporting mentor-mentee activities, having a clear emphasis on leadership and service, and a commitment to post-secondary success changes the trajectory of students and their entire families."

UNCF – "Thank you AbbVie for this generous investment in better futures for HBCU students," said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. "As UNCF enters its 76th year, our mission is critical now, more than ever. We are in midst of both a health pandemic and a racial justice pandemic, and this partnership will help overcome obstacles for so many students who would otherwise face major hardships pursuing their dreams in the health care fields."

Providence St. Mel – "We all have the responsibility to ensure a quality education for our children for now and the future," said Paul J. Adams III, Executive Chairman and Founder of Providence St. Mel. "No longer can this nation afford to rhetorically engage without results. The world will not survive with the inequality that exists! Our children in marginal communities must not only be given a chance but guaranteed a competitive education!"

Year Up  "AbbVie's investment in our program will ensure hundreds of Black young adults receive the support, training and resources to secure meaningful careers in a variety of industries," said Gerald Chertavian, Year Up Founder and CEO. "By connecting even more young people of color with livable wage jobs, we will continue working to close the Opportunity Divide and build a more inclusive, equitable economy."

About AbbVie

AbbVie's mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines that solve serious health issues today and address the medical challenges of tomorrow. We strive to have a remarkable impact on people's lives across several key therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology, women's health and gastroenterology, in addition to products and services across its Allergan Aesthetics portfolio. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.



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