Increasing vaccination rates on the West Side, especially for hard-to-reach populations that are more vulnerable to COVID-19, is critical. Now, thanks to a $333,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation, nine West Side community-based organizations that are part of Healthy Chicago Equity Zones will receive funding to advance vaccine equity.
“With this funding, community-based organizations throughout the West Side can get the resources to move the work forward and get more vaccinations in arms. And the equity zones really help to operationalize the work,” said LaDarius Curtis, senior director for community engagement at West Side United.
The equity zones are six areas across Chicago established by the Chicago Department of Public Health and led by regional and community organizations to deploy hyperlocal strategies that address racial inequity and barriers to social and environmental determinants of health. West Side United is the regional lead for the West Side and is responsible for distribution of the MacArthur funds.
Through such initiatives as community engagement, outreach, canvasing and events, each of the following nine organizations received $26,500 in funding to improve access to vaccines:
- Austin Coming Together
- Breakthrough Urban Ministries
- Eerie Family Health Centers
- Enlace Chicago
- Equal Hope
- Lift Inc.
- MAAFA Redemption Project
- Northwest Side Housing Center
- Sinai Urban Health Institute
“So far, with this funding, the community outreach efforts have been incredibly valuable. These organizations have been able to take action quickly and have already increased vaccinations in the community,” said Ayesha Jaco, executive director of West Side United. “At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to get folks vaccinated.”