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CNY nonprofit wins $10K UnitedHealthcare Community Care Award

By Eric Reinhardt


Central New York nonprofit Fight for Hearts captured the $10,000 Community Care Award from UnitedHealthcare (NYSE: UNH) following a pitch event at the Tech Garden. Pictured (from left to right) are Michael McGuire, CEO of UnitedHealthcare NY; Dr. Henry Chionuma, internist at Syracuse Community Health Center; Pam Brunet, executive director of Leadership Greater Syracuse; Andrew Fish, SVP of business and economic development at CenterState CEO; Srdan Lukic, founder of Fight for Hearts; Meghann Sandak, chief development officer of United Way of Central New York; and Jeff Knauss, co-founder of Digital Hyve of Syracuse. (Photo credit: UnitedHealthcare)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Fight for Hearts, a nonprofit organization serving Central New York, is the winner of a $10,000 Community Care Award from health insurer UnitedHealthcare.

A panel of judges chose the organization from five finalists during a live pitch event on Monday night at Tech Garden in Syracuse.

The finalists presented their ideas for “enhancing the health and wellness of the greater Syracuse and Central New York community,” Minnetonka, Minnesota–based UnitedHealthcare (NYSE: UNH) said in a news release.

The contest’s finalists also included King + King Architects, Life Source Acupuncture, and Redhouse Arts Center, each located in Syracuse; and Sleep Center of CNY with offices in Camillus and Fayetteville, per its website.

Fight for Hearts seeks to use fitness and education to “promote long term heart-healthy habits in the community,” per the release. It offers onsite coaching, strength and conditioning, boxing and youth and senior fitness classes.

Fight for Hearts will use the award to expand its junior coach program to more community clubs in Syracuse and the surrounding rural areas to teach kids leadership and teamwork skills while creating a sustainable fitness program in the community.

“All of our programs focus on improving quality of life, developing positive fitness habits, educating as well as helping build communities in the process,” Srdan Lukic, the nonprofit’s founder, said in the release.

Lukic survived three open-heart surgeries at a young age and decided to dedicate his life to helping others combat heart disease through daily activity and a nutritious diet, UnitedHealthcare said.

“Coming up with an idea that impacts change and helps people live healthier is no easy feat,” Michael McGuire, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of New York, said. “UnitedHealthcare’s Community Care Award was created to recognize the minds that are brilliant enough to do that, creating a positive impact on our communities. We are grateful for the opportunity and proud to have the support of our partners CenterState CEO and United Way of Central New York."

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