$29 million dedicated to grassroots outreach to California communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19

May 3rd, 2021

The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, in partnership with the State of California and seven philanthropic partners, today announces the launch of a new statewide vaccine equity effort with $29 million dedicated to equitable distribution of and access to COVID vaccines and education. Funds will be disbursed directly to community-based organizations throughout California to support community outreach to ensure vaccination equity and mitigate the health consequences of COVID-19 in disproportionately impacted populations and communities.

Funded organizations will be those working closely with communities and that have a cultural understanding of and connection with the mental, emotional and physical health of those hardest hit by COVID-19 and heightened inequities. Funding will support the provision of vital resources to increase access to vaccinations, such as transportation, interpreter services, childcare and other supports. The effort will be grounded by the expertise of community organizers, community health workers and promotoras, who will be linked with clinicians to administer the vaccines. The Center at Sierra Health Foundation (The Center) was brought on board as a partner due to their expertise and deep reach into impacted communities.

“Equity is the driving value in this and every project, in our approach and anticipated outcomes,” said Chet P. Hewitt, president and chief executive officer of Sierra Health Foundation and The Center. “To achieve our objectives, funds will not only be focused on populations across California most affected by COVID, but they will be directed through organizations with authentic relationships and history working in and with identified communities. The promise of this collaborative effort is centered on our ability to deepen our investments in community institutions who are best positioned to advance equity in California’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.”

This vaccine equity effort will build on the State’s COVID equitable outreach strategy. The Center has successfully collaborated with the State on three projects focused on COVID-19 harm reduction awareness and communications and partnership with community-based organizations for direct and meaningful engagement with populations that have experienced significant impactsfrom the pandemic. Through these projects, individuals and communities are activated and connected with information and resources related to the COVID-19 vaccine, public health guidance, workers’ rights, and other resources, including the public safety net.

In total, philanthropic partners have committed $29 million for vaccine equity and outreach. Current funding partners include Kaiser Permanente, IKEA U.S. Community Foundation, The California Endowment, Netflix, NextGen America, the Almond Board of California, and The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

“It is critical to continue to find ways to equitably distribute vaccines to those communities hit hardest by COVID-19,” said Greg A. Adams, chair and chief executive officer of Kaiser Permanente. “Vaccines are the last piece of protection we need to successfully recover from this pandemic, and we must continue to find ways to reach the most vulnerable populations. We are happy to lend our support to this effort to ensure access to vaccination for all eligible Californians.”

In support of ongoing vaccine equity efforts and in recognition of the importance of the role community-based organizations play in communities, particularly during the COVID pandemic, investments will integrate vaccination and wraparound services.

“Our communities have drawn on their profound strength and creativity to meet the shifting needs of individuals and families during an incredibly difficult year - one that has only reinforced our country's deepest systemic inequities. That's why we're proud to partner with The Center at Sierra Health Foundation in their work to champion recovery in the hardest-hit places, and to help communities build their own power and resilience in the face of any challenge.” said Priscilla Chan, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Learn more about The Center's COVID-19 Response for Our Communities at shfcenter.org/COVID-19-Response.