SouthCoast Community Foundation Granting $433,567 to Address COVID-19 Vaccine Equity and Hesitancy

May 20, 2021

First round of vaccine support to benefit Brockton, Fall River, and New Bedford communities.

 

NEW BEDFORD, MA – The SouthCoast Community Foundation announced today it is awarding a total of $433,567 from the SouthCoast Emergency Response Fund in its first round of grants to address COVID-19 vaccine equity and hesitancy. The Community Foundation is partnering with city health officials and leaders to invest strategically in Brockton, Fall River, and New Bedford, to ensure that all community members become aware of the benefits, gain access, and get vaccinated.

Earlier this year, the Community Foundation approached nonprofits, city health directors, and community health centers to identify solutions to tackle the disparity between the state average and the local communities average, particularly in communities of color. As of May 14th, the fully vaccinated rate in Massachusetts is 43.8%. Collectively Brockton, Fall River, and New Bedford is lower than the state at approximately 31.9%.1

“We were worried that members in our communities were reluctant to take advantage of the vaccine or were potentially being left out of the process,” stated SouthCoast Community Foundation Director of Engagement, Sarah Rose. “When the Emergency Response Fund was established fourteen months ago, we tackled the urgency of food security, housing, mental health, and child support. Now that vaccines are available, it is critically important that we partner with local non-profits to get everyone healthy again.”

An award of $116,167 is going to “United We Help Vaccinate Greater Fall River,” a program run by the City of Fall River’s Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Mayor Paul Coogan in collaboration with the United Way of Greater Fall River, United Neighbors of Fall River, SSTAR, and Healthfirst Family Care Center. Virtual call centers are being established with multi-lingual “Vaccine Navigators” who will assist individuals with pre-registration on the MA website or securing appointments with local sites such as CVS. This service will be available for the next six months.

“The support of the SouthCoast Community Foundation has made our collaborative effort possible to assist those unable to navigate online portals and successfully schedule vaccine appointments,” stated Wendy Garf-Lipp, Executive Director, United Neighbors of Fall River. “Their generosity brings us that much closer to community immunity.”

Boston-based nonprofit Partners in Health, together with the City of New Bedford Health Department will receive $150,000 to help plan and implement broad public health resilience efforts and hire staff to support the Health Department’s equitable vaccine outreach to New Bedford residents, particularly its most vulnerable populations. In addition, New Bedford nonprofit Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores is receiving $10,000 to tackle vaccine equity. They will hire bi-lingual staff to work with clients to register for vaccine appointments and educate reluctant clients on vaccine benefits.

“The vaccine campaign is a priority for our organization and the Central American community right now because it will save lives,” stated Adrián Ventura, Executive Director of Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores. “COVID-19 impacted so many in our community whether it was getting infected at their workplace, having their whole family get sick, or sadly some of them dying. That’s why we are working hard to educate everyone and help them get vaccinated.”

Brockton Area Multi-Services, Inc. (BAMSI) is receiving $107,400 for their COVID-19 Awareness campaign to increase the greater Plymouth county understanding of vaccine safety and the benefits of getting vaccinated. And an additional $50,000 has been awarded to Brockton Neighborhood Health Center to support equitable distribution of the vaccine and increase confidence through outreach and low-threshold access to immunization.

The Community Foundation established the SouthCoast Emergency Response Fund in partnership with local funders in March of 2020. The Fund provides flexible resources to organizations that work with those most impacted by COVID-19. To date, the organization has raised $9.1 million and granted $7.2 million to 137 nonprofits. Donations to the SouthCoast Emergency Fund can be made online. For general inquiries about the Fund, please contact emergencyfund@southcoastcf.org.

The SouthCoast Community Foundation is a nonprofit serving thousands of people throughout Southeastern Massachusetts who share a common goal of improving the quality of life through philanthropy.  Since 1995, the Community Foundation has distributed over $50 million from more than 200 funds to humanitarian, educational, and cultural organizations in the region. For more information, visit www.southcoastcf.org.

1COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative: Community-specific vaccination data,” Mass.gov, May 14, 2021

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United We Help Vaccinate Fall River.
From Left to Right: Tina Teves Vaccine Navigator, Benvinda Rosa Vaccine Navigator, Mariah Andrade Vaccine Navigator, Paul Coogan Fall River Mayor, Connie Soule Vaccine Navigator, Kim Smith Executive Director United Way of Greater Fall River, Marcia Souza Vaccine Navigator, Ana D’Abruzzo Vaccine Navigator, Vanusa Abreu Vaccine Navigator, Fanny Tchorz Interpreter Services and Community Initiative Director HealthFirst Family Care Center Inc.

United We Help Vaccinate Greater Fall River.
From Left to Right, top row: Fanny Tchorz Interpreter Services and Community Initiative Director at HealthFirst Family Care Center Inc., Ana D’Abruzzo Vaccine Navigator, Mariah Andrade Vaccine Navigator, Connie Soule Vaccine Navigator, Paul Coogan Fall River Mayor, Kim Smith Executive Director United Way of Greater Fall River, Tina Teves Vaccine Navigator
Left to Right bottom row: Marcia Souza Vaccine Navigator, Benvinda Rosa Vaccine Navigator, Vanusa Abreu Vaccine Navigator

New Bedford based Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores getting the word out about vaccine safety.

Administering vaccines in Brockton. Photo courtesy of BAMSI.

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