National WIC Association

June 20, 2024

National WIC Association Receives $590,000 from Elevance Health Foundation to Launch 'Food as Medicine' Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 20, 2024) — Today the National WIC Association (NWA) announced a $590,000 investment from Elevance Health Foundation to initiate a landmark “food as medicine” program in support of participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The grant, which will launch the Increasing Access to Healthy Food Through Farmers Markets initiative, is designed to help WIC participants redeem their benefits at farmers markets, making it easier for those families to purchase fruits and vegetables. 

In a recent NWA survey, WIC participants reported that fruits and vegetables were the single most important element of the food package. While research suggests that WIC’s Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) has significant potential to increase access and consumption of fruits and vegetables among WIC participants, many participants do not redeem their FMNP benefits due to a variety of barriers. 

“As we mark WIC’s 50th anniversary this year, this investment from Elevance Health Foundation will help NWA start exploring best practices and identifying the types of support needed to help increase FMNP redemption rates,” said Georgia Machell, NWA President and CEO. “Not only does this grant enable us to better meet the needs of families who rely on WIC for years to come, but also allows us to better support State and Local WIC agencies in their efforts to maximize FMNP benefits.”  

Established by Congress in 1992, FMNP provides WIC participants with access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Participants can use their FMNP benefits at farmers markets, roadside stands, and directly from farmers. While 1.3 million WIC participants received FMNP benefits in 2022, a vast majority did not redeem those benefits. Redemption barriers include a lack of awareness, difficulty accessing participating sites, and low voucher amounts. 

“The Elevance Health Foundation believes that food is medicine and we are committed to supporting programs that address food insecurity by helping individuals reach optimal health through good nutrition,” said Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., Chief Health Officer at Elevance Health. “By launching the Increasing Access to Healthy Food Through Farmers Markets initiative, WIC participants will have better access to the nutritious food they need to be healthy and thrive.” 

This grant is part of Elevance Health Foundation’s commitment of $30 million over a three-year period toward programs that advance health equity and encourage food as medicine. To date, the Foundation has reached more than 555,000 individuals through food as medicine programs and has provided more than 1.5 million meals. 


About the National WIC Association

The National WIC Association (NWA) is the nonprofit membership organization for State and local providers of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). NWA is the go-to voice of and for WIC staff at more than 12,000 WIC locations across the country who work to support more than 6.4 million mothers and young children. For over three decades, NWA has worked to build broad, bipartisan consensus for WIC’s programmatic goals and public health mission. NWA provides member-driven advocacy; education, guidance, and support to WIC staff; and drive innovation to strengthen WIC as we work toward a nation of healthier women, children, and their families. Learn more at

About Elevance Health Foundation

Elevance Health Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Elevance Health, Inc. The Foundation works to advance health equity by focusing on improving the health of the socially vulnerable through partnerships and programs in our communities with an emphasis on maternal child health; substance use disorder; and food as medicine. Through its key areas of focus, the Foundation also strategically aligns with Elevance Health’s focus on community health and becoming a lifetime, trusted health partner that is fueled by its purpose to improve the health of humanity. To learn more about Elevance Health Foundation, please visit or follow us @ElevanceFND on X and Elevance Health Foundation on Facebook.

Media Contacts

Tim Ward
National WIC Association

Vanessa Stepanek
Elevance Health Foundation