Eastern Bank Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Boston-based Eastern Bank, recently announced an additional $2 million in COVID-19 support to increase last mile vaccination outreach and access. Vaccination rates, while progressing, also highlight the inequities experienced in communities of color within Gateway Cities of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The Eastern Bank Foundation is collaborating with community health centers, foundations, community organizations and other companies to address the disparities and reach populations living in cities with the highest incidence rate of COVID-19 cases to get them access to the vaccine. Philanthropic support is provided in three areas:
- Vaccine access—investing in the work of community health centers, mobile vaccination vans and buses, and pop-up vaccination sites;
- Culturally-inclusive outreach—investing in grassroots community partners with trusting relationships to the community members they serve, door-to-door outreach, and multilingual vaccination resources; and
- Advocacy—partnering with community organizations to advocate for equity in vaccine access for communities of color.
In NH, grant recipients include:
“It is clear that COVID-19 is still having its greatest impact in our gateway cities. We are so very thankful to our community health centers, trusted community-based organizations, and public-private partnerships for their focus on last mile vaccination outreach, and their commitment to ensuring no one is left behind,” said Nancy Huntington Stager, President and CEO of the Eastern Bank Foundation. “These next several months are critical to getting as many people as possible vaccinated, and the timing of this grant funding is intended to boost efforts that overcome barriers to vaccination.”
Rick Minard, executive director of Building Community in NH, says most members of the refugee communities they serves have already been vaccinated. The Eastern Bank Foundation donation enables the organization to mobilize vaccinated community members to reach out to their hesitant neighbors, probably one at a time.
"BCNH works primarily with Bhutanese, Congolese and Rohingya refugees in Concord, Manchester and Nashua. This project will allow us to include in that community other immigrants and people of color," he says. "We expect the impact to be profoundly beneficial.”