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GEHA, YMCA and the Hunt Family Foundation support water safety and aquatics access through Joe Delaney Learn to Swim Program, presented by GEHA

GEHA | October 27, 2022

To combat historic health inequities in the aquatics space, GEHA and its partners will provide up to 650 students with free swim lessons and equipment.

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. (Nov. 1, 2022) – GEHA (Government Employees Health Association, Inc., pronounced G.E.H.A.), the Hunt Family Foundation, and the YMCA of Greater Kansas City today announced continued support and dedication to addressing barriers to health equity through the Joe Delaney Learn to Swim Program, Presented by GEHA.

GEHA, the Hunt Family Foundation and the YMCA of  Greater Kansas City will collaborate to expand their efforts to help up to 650 students with swim lessons and equipment through a pledge of nearly $50,000.

The inaugural collaboration, launched in June of 2022, began through a partnership with GEHA, Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas. This focused on GEHA’s efforts to support health equity through water safety and aquatics access and intentionally examines the root causes behind health inequities, such as cultural and geographic hindrances to aquatics, segregation and generational traumas that produced inaccessibility issues around water safety.  Having provided funding for up to 200 students’ summer swim lessons and equipment at Parkwood Pool, the only public pool in the third-largest city in the state, 100% of the student participants improved their water safety knowledge and abilities. More than 38% of students, which were predominantly of color, were never submerged in water prior to the program.

“GEHA has a long-standing commitment to addressing inequities in health care and the social determinants of health that plague people of color among our members and in our hometown community,” said GEHA President & CEO Arthur A. Nizza, DSW. “Being at the forefront of efforts to ensure equitable and inclusive access for underserved communities is in our DNA. It’s why opportunities like the Joe Delaney Learn to Swim Program, Presented by GEHA are hallmarks of the work we do to help close equity gaps for kids in the Kansas City area.”

The program was recently expanded as The Joe Delaney Learn to Swim Program, Presented by GEHA to commemorate the life and legacy of Joe Delaney, the record-breaking Kansas City Chiefs running back. Delaney tragically drowned while attempting to rescue three young boys in Louisiana in 1983, after his second professional football season.

“Our partnership with GEHA and our relationship with the YMCA are integral pieces of our ongoing commitment to the Kansas City community,” Chiefs President Mark Donovan said. “Supporting the Learn to Swim Program, and having GEHA and the YMCA name the program after a true hero and legend in Joe Delaney, is a fitting tribute to addressing water safety and access for all in our community.”

The expanded program is set to resume in January of 2023, with programs taking place at five Kansas City metro locations through the summer of 2023, including the North Kansas City YMCA, the Linwood YMCA/James B. Nutter, Sr. Community Center, the Cleaver Family YMCA, Kirk Family YMCA and Parkwood Pool. Each location serves culturally diverse student bodies within walking distance of the pool. With further awareness to participation barriers, each student will receive a new swim towel featuring the Joe Delaney decal that was worn in memorial on Kansas City Chiefs players’ jerseys, along with access to free swimsuits, goggles, and sunscreen.

“At the Y, we’re committed to eliminating drowning, and we believe everyone should have access to swim lessons,” said Mark Hulet, Chief Operating Officer of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. “Thanks to the support of GEHA and the Hunt Family Foundation, we can work together to remove barriers and help make sure kids across the metro have the skills they need to safely enjoy the water.”

ABOUT GEHA
GEHA (Government Employees Health Association, Inc., pronounced G.E.H.A.) is a nonprofit member association that provides medical and dental benefits to more than 2 million federal employees and retirees, military retirees and their families. Offering one of the largest medical and dental benefit provider networks available to federal employees in the United States, GEHA empowers health and wellness by meeting its members where they are, when they need care.

Headquartered in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, with approximately 1,600 employees, GEHA is committed to its members and their communities. GEHA has gained distinctive civic recognition by being named one of the top 100 Healthiest Workplaces in America,  2022 Corporate Partner of the Year for the Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the 2022 Nonprofit Champion of Diversity for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the 2022 Truly the Best Business of the Year for Lee's Summit (Missouri) Chamber of Commerce. In 2022, GEHA signed the CEO Action Pledge, furthering its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Since 2021, GEHA has held exclusive naming rights to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, home to the Kansas City Chiefs.

To learn more, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and visit geha.com.

ABOUT THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS/HUNT FAMILY FOUNDATION
Founded as the Dallas Texans in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) by sports pioneer Lamar Hunt, the franchise moved to Kansas City in 1963 and became known as the Kansas City Chiefs. The team currently competes in the West Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). Under the guidance of the Hunt Family and the leadership of Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, the mission of the Kansas City Chiefs is to Win with Character, Unite our Community, Inspire our Fans and Honor Tradition. The Hunt Family Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation committed to making a positive impact in the communities where the Chiefs live and work through philanthropy, programming and volunteerism. In order to maximize financial support, the Hunt Family Foundation gives priority to organizations that demonstrate a major programmatic focus and commitment to the service of children’s health and wellness, children and families in crisis, civic responsibility, and the legacy of the Kansas City Chiefs and the National Football League.

For information about the Kansas City Chiefs and the Hunt Family Foundation, visit chiefs.com.

ABOUT THE YMCA OF GREATER KANSAS CITY
Driven by its founding mission, the YMCA of Greater Kansas City has served as a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community since 1860. 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 communities. The Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. Visit KansasCityYMCA.org for more information.

CONTACTS
Cristi Allen (GEHA) | 816-434-4472
Lisa Ketteler (GEHA) | 816-434-2508
Paula Oxler (YMCA) | 816.682.3168