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Vaccine and mask

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, working with the Fund for Public Health in NYC, selects partner organizations for outreach to increase confidence in and access to COVID-19 vaccines

August 26, 2021 As part of the City of New York’s commitment to ensure fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations, 33 community and faith-based organizations have been selected to partner with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Partner Engagement Project. $9 million has been allocated in support of these organizations which serve approximately 20 neighborhoods in New York City (see pages 2 & 3 for list of awardees).

The request for community partners was developed and issued by the Fund for Public Health in New York City (FPHNYC), on behalf of the Health Department’s Center for Health Equity and Community Wellness. FPHNYC worked closely with the Health Department to identify and select community and faith-based organizations and will provide management of the awards to partner organizations.

Partner organizations will encourage conversation about vaccination within their communities, gather feedback, and use these learnings to develop tailored and culturally relevant vaccine messaging, and offer one-on-one assistance to boost vaccine confidence. Preference has been given to organizations physically located in and serving neighborhoods identified by the City’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity with the lowest vaccination rates; have a majority BIPOC staff and leadership; and/or have a majority of staff and leadership from the neighborhoods or part of the communities served. Funding is also being directed to organizations serving populations in supportive housing.

March 2022 update: Dr. Dave A. Chokshi and Sara Gardner reflect on the success
of the Vaccine Equity Partner Engagement Project thanks to public, private, and philanthropic support.

“To end the COVID-19 pandemic, we must partner and fund community and faith-based organizations that have deep roots in their neighborhoods,” said Dr. Torian Easterling, First Deputy Commissioner and Chief Equity Officer of the Health Department. “They are playing essential roles serving neighborhoods that have not only been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, but also a history of systemic racism, discrimination, and disinvestment.”

“Community and faith-based organizations have a critical role to play in bringing us closer to a just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Michelle Morse, the Health Department’s Deputy Commissioner for the Center for Health Equity and Community Wellness and Chief Medical Officer. “Through these partnerships, the Health Department will work hand-in-hand with communities to advance racial justice and build capacity for health equity both during COVID-19 and in the future.”

“The Fund for Public Health NYC recognizes this is an opportunity to both increase vaccine confidence and to address systemic inequities that have kept many New Yorkers from equitable access to the resources they need to lead healthier lives,” said Sara Gardner, Executive Director, FPHNYC. “We are incredibly grateful to our philanthropic partners who are committed to helping communities most impacted by COVID-19, as well as to removing barriers to healthcare.”

Funding for the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Partner Engagement Project is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with generous support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Altman Foundation, The New York Community Trust, Robin Hood, Target, the New York State Health Foundation, and an anonymous donor. The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust is providing much-needed support for organizations serving the supportive housing community.

“NYC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Partner Engagement Project and its focus on engaging trusted community-embedded organizations is more vital than ever as the landscape of the pandemic evolves,” said Rachael Pine, Senior Program Officer at the Altman Foundation. “Aided by community partners, the initiative seeks to reach more deeply into the low-income, immigrant, and/or Black and Brown neighborhoods where long-standing inequities have eroded access to health care and confidence in delivery systems, neighborhoods where vaccination rates remain low and the pandemic has been especially devastating.”

“Helmsley is committed to the health and well-being of all New Yorkers, which can only be possible with higher COVID-19 vaccination rates,” said Tracy Perrizo, the New York City Program Officer at the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “We are fortunate to have so many excellent community organizations that stand ready to meet this moment, and we are further encouraged to be part of a coalition of donors, each doing what we can to help the city we love put the pandemic behind us. Working together is the only way through.”  

“In the eight months since the nation’s first vaccine was given to a nurse in New York, the role of community organizations to reach the unvaccinated has taken on a new urgency if we are to truly end this pandemic,” said Irfan Hasan, Deputy Vice President of Grants at The New York Community Trust. “We are proud to be a funding partner for the Vaccine Equity Partner Engagement Project and look forward to having our grant help in this critical effort.”

“We’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that partnerships are key in ensuring communities most impacted have the resources they need to respond to it,” said Brian Byrd, Senior Program Officer, The New York State Health Foundation. “We are excited to continue our collaboration with the NYC Health Department, FPHNYC, and funders on this important issue.”

“We’re seeing COVID-19 vaccination rates mirror the same racial and economic inequities that led to disproportionate deaths amongst immigrant New Yorkers and communities of color,” said Sarah Oltmans, Chief Grant Officer, Robin Hood. “New York City must lead the way to ensure widespread access and to provide culturally-relevant and transparent vaccination information so that every New Yorker feels safe and informed receiving a vaccine. Robin Hood is proud to support the Vaccine Equity Partner Engagement Project and the community-based organizations who serve as trusted messengers and resources for New Yorkers so that we can ensure a safe and equitable recovery for our neighbors and our city.” 

  Awardees and Target Neighborhoods

 ACT Care Foundation  Flatbush and Midwood
 AD-Deen Inc. on behalf of Epicenter-NYC Queens Village
 African International Collaborative Center Williamsbridge and Baychester
 African Life Center  Kingsbridge
Alliance for Positive Change  Central Harlem
 Arab-American Family Support Center  Coney Island
 Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services East New York and Starrett City
 Bronx Christian Fellowship Baptist ChurchWilliamsbridge and Baychester
Brooklyn Community ServicesConey Island
Caribbean Women’s Health AssociationFlatlands, Canarsie,
and East Flatbush
Catholic Charities Brooklyn and QueensBrownsville
Cypress Hills Local Development CorporationEast New York and Starrett City
Diaspora Community ServicesBrownsville
Every Day Is A Miracle, INCFordham and University Heights
Fund for the City of New York on behalf of SMARTCentral Harlem
Grand Concourse Seventh-day Adventist ChurchHighbridge and Concourse
Holy Tabernacle #1 C.O.G.I.C.Bushwick
JBT FoundationBed-Stuy and Brownsville 
Life ChurchFlatlands and Canarsie
MHANY ManagementBed-Stuy
Morris Heights Health Center Fordham, University Heights,
and Kingsbridge
Neighborhood Housing Services of Brooklyn,
(NHS Brooklyn)
East Flatbush
Neighborhood Initiatives Development
Corporation (NIDC)
Belmont, East Tremont, Parkchester, and Soundview
Relume FoundationRockaway and Broad Channel
RISE Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and EquityRockaway and Broad Channel
Sauti Yetu Center for African Women & FamiliesMott Haven and Melrose
Transnational Villages Network/ Red de Pueblos TrasnacionalesMott Haven and Melrose
Covenant House New YorkParkchester and Soundview
UNITED SIKHSQueens Village
VIP Community ServicesHighbridge and Concourse
Word Of Life InternationalMorrisania and Crotona

The Fund for Public Health in New York City facilitates partnerships between the public and private sector to develop, test, and launch new public health initiatives that advance the health of all New Yorkers. For more information visit: fphnyc.org

[ View / download a PDF of the related press release ]

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