The Rx Foundation launched a Vaccine Equity grant program in March 2021 to address unequal access to COVID-19 vaccines in marginalized communities. The foundation relied on its existing network of grant partners to identify organizations that were doing critical work, and directed grants of $25,000 each to 14 Black, Latinx, and immigrant-led organizations in nine states. One such partner was New Direction Health Care Solutions (NDHCS) in Knoxville, TN, which focused on health disparities in rural communities of color. NDHCS’ pandemic response showed the value of collaborating with the faith community, being thoughtful, intentional, and flexible, and funding community-led organizations and trusted messengers to advance long-term health equity goals. The Rx Foundation’s largely conversation-based process for Vaccine Equity applications and reporting minimized the paperwork burden on organizations and maximized the flexibility with which they could utilize grant funds. The flexibility of this funding made it possible for organizations to respond nimbly to evolving needs and gaps in their communities.
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