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Aetna Better Health® of Illinois donates over $20,000 and supplies to under-resourced communities to kick off 2023 school year

September 13, 2023 |3 minute read time

Three children sitting at a table in a classroom

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Sept. 13, 2023 — Just 36% of American families say they can afford school supplies.* To help relieve the financial burden on Illinois families, Aetna Better Health® of Illinois, a CVS Health® company (NYSE:CVS), has donated over $20,000 to support back-to-school initiatives and over 20,000 school supplies to community organizations throughout Illinois.

By collaborating with community partners, Aetna® supplied thousands of children in need with backpacks, pencils, pens, folders, notebooks, crayons and color pencils to help prepare them with the tools they need to succeed this school year. This funding will help alleviate some of the financial challenges students and their families face on a day-to-day basis.

“Kicking off the school year can be an exciting time for kids and parents but, with a growing school supplies list, it can also be tough for some families to afford,” said Rushil Desai, CEO, Aetna Better Health of Illinois. “We’re committed to building healthier communities and understand wellness extends beyond physical health. That’s why we’ve joined with local organizations, churches and health centers across the state to distribute back-to-school essentials so kids are ready for the upcoming school year. This is just one way to reduce stress this time of year so everyone can focus on learning.”

Among the recipients of the donations and sponsorships were:

  • Bud Billiken Parade
  • Chicago Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Family Christian Health Center
  • The Kindness Campaign
  • A Ministry of Restoration
  • Monarch Awards Foundation. Inc.


“Thanks to sponsors like Aetna, we were able to distribute 800 backpacks filled with supplies,” said Shaunessye D. Curry, president, Chicago Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. “Our community members look forward to this and line up every year to receive the backpacks. We’re so glad that, together with Aetna, we’re able to help fulfill a need for local families.”

Aetna Better Health of Illinois also offered a barber and braider to give free hairstyles to youth just ahead of the school year during the Bud Billiken Parade and will participate in over 35 back-to-school events throughout the state.

In addition to these community donations and initiatives, Aetna Better Health® of Illinois offers free school clothes to help members to get ready for the school year.

Aetna Better Health of Illinois offers access to quality, affordable health care to individuals through the state's HealthChoice Illinois Medicaid program. The health plan serves over 420,000 members in 102 counties.

For more information about Aetna Better Health® of Illinois, visit our website,


About Aetna Medicaid

Aetna Medicaid Administrators LLC (Aetna Medicaid), a CVS Health company, has over 30 years of experience managing the care of under-resourced populations, using innovative approaches and a local presence in each market to achieve both successful health care results and effective cost outcomes. Aetna Medicaid has expertise serving high-need Medicaid members, including those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, Aetna Medicaid owns and/or administers Medicaid managed health care plans under the names of Aetna Better Health and other affiliate names. Together, these plans serve members in 16 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. For more information, see

About CVS Health

CVS Health® is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. We reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through our local presence, digital channels and over 300,000 dedicated colleagues – including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and nurse practitioners. Wherever and whenever people need us, we help them with their health – whether that's managing chronic diseases, staying compliant with their medications, or accessing affordable health and wellness services in the most convenient ways. We help people navigate the health care system – and their personal health care – by improving access, lowering costs and being a trusted partner for every meaningful moment of health. And we do it all with heart, each and every day. Follow @CVSHealth on social media.

Media contact:

Robert Joyce

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