Brooklyn Community Foundation Supports Community Health Outreach and Vaccination Support

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Brooklyn Community Foundation Supports Community Health Outreach and Vaccination Support

Today, we are announcing that $250,000 from our Brooklyn COVID-19 Response Fund will go to grassroots nonprofits providing culturally relevant, medically accurate COVID-19 education and support in 10 priority community districts as well as to key demographic groups.

The new grant opportunity aligns with the Foundation’s commitment to racial justice and is informed by conversations with Brooklyn residents in communities of color, who indicated a continuous scarcity of trustworthy information and resources on COVID-19, including transmission, treatments, and vaccines. Their comments underscore the heightened vigilance and trauma in these communities, which are the result of the American healthcare system’s historical abuse and neglect of Black, indigenous, and other people of color.

“We know that community-led, community-embedded organizations are the most trusted messengers, and therefore the most effective agents for helping residents feel informed and able to access the prevention and care they need. Frontline nonprofits have the relationships and understanding needed to support communities on the margins of power and access, historically and systematically denied adequate resources and protections. We must ensure these organizations have the support and funding to do this essential lifesaving work now.”  

- Marcella Tillett, VP of Programs and Partnerships


Our Brooklyn COVID-19 Response Fund will provide Community Health Outreach & Support grants of up to $10,000 for community-led organizations’ work in the following areas:

  • Creating safer spaces for conversations with community members and credible messengers on COVID-19 related community health concerns. 
  • Outreach, engagement, and education activities to provide culturally relevant, medically accurate information about COVID-19 prevention, testing, vaccines, and related issues to support community members’ ability to make informed health decisions.   
  • Navigation support for people interested in accessing COVID-19 related health services, including vaccines from scheduling appointments to providing transportation.

In addition to financial support, we will convene grantees to share strategies and strengthen the ecosystem of organizations working to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 in Brooklyn, with expert technical assistance and coaching support that centers racial justice.

This $250,000 commitment is the first grantmaking cycle in the Brooklyn COVID-19 Response Fund’s second phase of funding. Brooklyn Community Foundation launched the Fund in March 2020 to address the acute initial health, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and awarded over $3.3 million last year. The Fund is deeply rooted in the Foundation’s values of racial equity and prioritizes support for community-led nonprofits that center the voices of those directly impacted by structural racism in decision-making. 

Following our initial grantmaking to address urgent needs and sustain local nonprofits’ ability to provide critical programs and services, we created Brooklyn Insights 2020, a series of listening sessions with over 200 community members to determine the Fund’s next steps. The process focused on the voices of residents, largely from communities of color, who shared their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as strategies to address systemic injustices and provide ongoing relief. During the listening sessions, participants from across geographic locations and demographic groups consistently expressed a need for culturally relevant, medically accurate COVID-19 education and support. In response, the Foundation committed $250,000 for Community Health Outreach & Support grants. We will release the full findings from the listening sessions, along with further funding investments in March. 

This funding is available to support these priority community districts: Bedford Stuyvesant (CD 3), Bushwick (CD 4), East New York (CD 5), Sunset Park (CD 7), Crown Heights North (CD 8), Crown Heights South (CD 9), Coney Island (CD 13), Brownsville (CD 16), Flatbush (CD 14), East Flatbush (CD 17); as well as these priority populations: older adults; Black, indigenous, and people of color; immigrants; low-wage and nontraditional workers; people with compromised immune systems; people who are unhoused and housing insecure; people who are formerly or currently incarcerated; people who are LGBTQIAGNC+; and people experiencing domestic violence. 

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