The CDC Foundation announced support to more than 150 community-based organizations (CBOs) throughout the United States with more than $30 million to promote COVID-19 vaccination and reduce the disease’s burden.
The announcement comes as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread throughout the United States, leading to sharp increases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths among the unvaccinated.
The work of CBOs has been critical throughout the pandemic response, especially in communities with the highest risk for COVID-19 and the heaviest burden of its impact. CBOs are uniquely positioned to provide culturally appropriate and community-tailored information about mitigation measures, including the importance of vaccination, according to Judy Monroe, M.D., president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.
“As we continue to encourage all who are eligible to be vaccinated, the role of community-based organizations to help end the pandemic has never been more crucial,” said Monroe. “That is why the federal government, the philanthropic community, the private sector and our public health system are working together to provide support for the ongoing efforts of CBOs to promote vaccination in their communities.”
Lauren Smith, M.D., M.P.H., CDC Foundation’s chief healthy equity and strategy officer stated, “Advancing health equity has been our north star throughout the pandemic response and ensuring all our communities have access to the COVID-19 vaccines, and resources to make an informed decision to vaccinate, is both our priority and our collective responsibility. We must do all we can to promote vaccination with a particular urgency and focus on communities that have been the most impacted.”
This funding will support CBOs across the country to engage with local partners, including their state and local health departments, to address vaccine-related concerns, develop innovative and culturally appropriate communications strategies, and promote timely vaccination both for the COVID-19 vaccine and the seasonal influenza vaccine. The work of CBOs receiving support may include developing vaccine resources, hosting community events, engaging in neighborhood-level outreach and managing local communication campaigns, among other activities.
Millions of individuals in 38 states and the District of Columbia are expected to be impacted through the work conducted by the CBOs receiving funding. A list of the funded CBOs can be found here.
The grants were awarded through competitive processes and are funded by the CDC Foundation, as well as funding provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Google.org, Prologis Inc. and others. These CBO funding grants are in addition to the seven grants announced in June with support from the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc.
Additionally, federal funding for this effort is primarily made possible through cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services totaling $25,660,048 with 100% funding from CDC/HHS.
This support for CBOs adds to the ongoing work of the CDC Foundation to advance health equity and address structural racism and other systemic barriers that lead to unequal access to the building blocks of good health — like healthy neighborhoods, housing and food, and high-quality health care — and result in inequitable health outcomes. These inequities have resulted in people in some racial and ethnic groups bearing a disproportionate impact during the pandemic, with much higher rates of COVID cases and deaths. The CDC Foundation’s portfolio of work to address the complex social, economic and place-based factors that lead to health inequities (often referred to as the social determinates of health) includes efforts to develop a more robust community-level understanding of the barriers.
The CBO awards announced today are focused on addressing the immediate needs of communities to increase vaccination and mitigate the impact of COVID-19, whereas other Foundation-supported projects, such as the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Health Tracker, are working to improve understanding of the root causes of inequities and inform actionable, evidence-based interventions to improve future health outcomes.