We are pleased to announce $550,000 in grants to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccinations. Reflecting a national trend, communities of color across San Francisco have been disproportionally impacted by COVID-19, yet equitable vaccine distribution has been a challenge throughout our country. In partnership with local nonprofit organizations, Metta Fund’s equity-centered approach focuses on community-led programs to expand vaccine access, outreach, and information dissemination.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve known that certain neighborhoods and communities have been hit hardest by the virus. Structural inequities—including health care access, wealth gaps, and systematic racism— have imposed a disparate burden of illness and death on older adults of color,” said Metta Fund Chief Executive Officer Janet Y. Spears. “This grant program will fund organizations closest to elders and families most affected, helping the City respond on a hyper-local, community-based level. I look forward to working with our trusted community partners to further our collective efforts in vaccinating residents.”
The initial round of grants, dispersed last week, was awarded to four local community organizations to deepen equitable outreach and expand access for older adults; initial grant recipients include Bayview Hunters Point Multi-Purpose Senior Services (BHMPSS); Chinatown YMCA; On Lok Day Services; and the San Francisco Latino Task Force. The second phase of vaccine equity grants will focus on emergent needs as well as continued collaborative responses. “By working directly with the people who know their communities best, we can more equitably increase vaccine access and confidence,” noted Metta Fund board chair Kimberly Brandon.
Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services will hire a vaccine navigator to coordinate vaccination information, culturally relevant outreach, and hands-on elder client support in the broader Bayview community and other City service areas.
“Metta Fund has been a long-time advocate and ally of San Francisco’s elders, especially in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood,” said Cathy Davis, Executive Director of Bayview Senior Services. “We are proud to continue this partnership through the vaccine equity program, which will ensure that Bayview residents and other low-income City communities have equitable access to vaccines, information, and other resources.”
Chinatown YMCA will partner with a number of key Chinatown anchor institutions including the NICOS Chinese Health Coalition, Self-Help for the Elderly, and Chinatown Community Development Center to conduct outreach and Chinese-language communication to ensure that all older residents have access to science-based, community-informed communications and access to vaccines.
On Lok Day Services (OLDS) will conduct broad outreach by its multilingual staff to over 8,000 clients as well as other community elders who are not currently utilizing OLDS services. Additionally, they will coordinate with nonprofit and city government partners to ensure timely and multilingual vaccine information and access.
The San Francisco Latino Task Force will connect communities with accurate and accessible information, hire additional staff, secure transportation, provide bilingual educational materials, and continue to collaborate with key community partners in expanding neighborhood vaccine sites.
“For over a year now, the Latino Task Force has been a trusted messenger, advocate, and resource for our Latinx community in the fight against Covid-19. We are excited to partner with Metta Fund and pleased to provide a program that will bring the vaccine to older adults who may not have access to existing vaccine sites. By offering the vaccine to elders, not only are we saving lives, but we are saving and valuing traditions, stories, wisdom, generational connections, and relationships, “said Valerie Tulier-Laiwa, Coordinator of the San Francisco Latino Task Force.
Anna Karrer Manley
Director of Communications