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Kresge Foundation commits $2M to Detroit’s COVID-19 vaccination effort

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Detroit – The Kresge Foundation is donating $ 2 million to improve access to the COVID-19 vaccine and support services in Detroit.

The foundation announced Thursday that it will provide half of its funding for health justice in Detroit through community health centers, neighborhood development groups, and recruitment agencies. Kresge provided the other $ 1 million in grants to aid various organizations in vaccination efforts. These will be awarded in the coming weeks.

“COVID-19 is not over yet, especially in black and brown communities,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, executive director of the Kresge Foundation’s Detroit program, in a news release, spreading the word in the neighborhood that vaccines are readily available, safe, and life-saving should help to bring the residents in touch with them. “

Kresge’s announcement comes a day after Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said intensive efforts were being made in the city to get “trustworthy voices” encouraging residents to vaccinate, and discussions were being held about incentivizing residents manage to get vaccinated.

Duggan on Wednesday drew up plans to raise vaccine awareness in Detroit with community forums, a door-to-door campaign in the neighborhood, and virtual tools to help locate the closest of 24 vaccine sites across the city since the vaccinations in the surrounding counties are lagging behind and the positivity rate has increased nearly 21% from just 3.5% at the end of March.

Denise Fair, Detroit’s chief public health officer, found that an additional 700 people test positive for COVID-19 every day.

Companies, Duggan said Wednesday, are offering to combine freebies with vaccination days in Detroit, and a research team is evaluating how this is being done in other cities. Detroit will also call on high-profile figures to publicly support Detroit’s vaccination campaign to encourage more residents to participate.

The Kresge Foundation funding announced Thursday includes $ 600,000 for federally qualified health centers, community development organizations and recruitment agencies in District 2 of Detroit City Council in northwest Detroit and District 6 in southwest Detroit. The areas had the highest COVID-19 case rate, according to official information.

The funding will support vaccine dissemination and education, as well as transport to vaccination sites. It is also used to help organizations connect residents with basic resources such as food, housing, or mental health services.

The remainder of the first round of funding ($ 400,000) will support community health organizations across the city promoting outreach and access. These organizations will be named in the coming weeks, Kresge said.

“Eligibility to vaccinate does not automatically guarantee equitable or convenient access, especially for low-income and colored communities,” said Jackson. “It is important to address our long-standing health inequalities at the neighborhood level.”

Additional grants totaling $ 1 million will promote vaccine access and availability. It will include partnerships with Detroit and other organizations that will be announced in the coming days.

Overall, Kresge plans to invest $ 4.4 million nationwide by 2021 to support equitable distribution of COVID vaccines.

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Dusty Kennedy