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Kresge awards $2.1 million in grants to boost vaccination efforts, address health disparities

American Cities, COVID-19, Detroit, Health

The Kresge Foundation has awarded $2.1 million in grant funding to organizations in Detroit and across the country to further support COVID-19 response and recovery activities, boost vaccination rates and address health disparities.

Included in this total are $822,773 in new one-year grants to 18 local health departments that participated in Kresge’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health program.

These investments augment funding the Health Program provided to 25 health departments in October 2020 to secure necessary equipment, staff and operational resources to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grantees include:

“These local health departments are using an array of practical and innovative solutions to address immediate needs and integrate long-term measures to address inequities in access, information and services in low-income and BIPOC communities,” said Monica Valdes Lupi, managing director of Kresge’s Health Program.

Also included in this latest round of funding is a $800,000 grant to Health Leads for its Vaccine Equity Cooperative, a two-year national effort to ensure racial equity in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, build vaccine confidence, improve uptake and address long-term disparities.

Designed to be a one stop shop for community health workers and community-based workforces, the cooperative will provide tailored support for the cities of Detroit, Memphis, New Orleans and Fresno, Valdes Lupi said.​

In addition, Kresge has awarded $335,000 to seven community organizations across Detroit leading COVID-19 vaccine outreach and access efforts. Funds will also support the organizations in connecting residents with resources for a variety of basic needs, such as food, housing and mental health services.

Grantees include Brilliant Detroit, Central Detroit Christian CDC, Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance CDC, GenesisHOPE CDC, Detroit Community Health Connection, Eastside Community Network and Institute for Population Health.

These organizations join 13 others — including ACCESS, Advantage Health Centers, Bridging Communities and Sinai Grace Community Development Corporation — that shared $600,000 in April grants for vaccine support and basic needs in northwest and southwest Detroit that were then the hardest hit by COVID-19 in the city.

“This is still a perilous moment, particularly for those who are unvaccinated and for communities with low vaccination rates,” said Detroit Program Managing Director Wendy Lewis Jackson. “It is incumbent on us to provide resources to the trusted organizations that are close to Detroit residents who still need vaccinations. It is the right thing to do for them and for the greater community as well.”

And in New Orleans, a $150,000 grant from the American Cities Program and the Health Program will bolster Resilience Force’s efforts to train and support additional community health workers to help address the COVID-19 crisis in communities of color and provide career-track jobs to workers dislocated from the service and hospitality industries.

In 2021, Kresge has committed more than $3 million in grants to nonprofit organizations to support equitable vaccination efforts.