New state-wide grant means faith-based organizations receive funding for vaccination events

Written by on September 14, 2021

New state-wide grant means faith-based organizations receive funding for vaccination events

By Genesis Ortega

September 14, 2021

Photo by Steven Cornfield on Unsplash

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – State health officials are ramping up efforts to get more people vaccinated in Pennsylvania where just over 50% are fully vaccinated. 

Listen to the story.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is partnering up with the UnitedWay to offer grants for faith-based organizations that succeed in vaccinating people. 

Kristen Rotz is the president of United Way of Pennsylvania, the organization that will be distributing the money. 

“The vaccine strategy now has become much more individualized and localized because the people who are easy to vaccinate have already been vaccinated,” Rotz said. 

The incentive is $10 every time an organization reaches someone directly for instance by phone call, door-to-door or on social media. There’s another $10 when the person gets vaccinated. 

A church or other faith-based organization can receive up to $40,000. 

Rotz said organizations need to show how they have access to hard-to-reach unvaccinated communities. 

“That includes racial and ethnic minorities. Often those communities could be neighborhoods within neighborhoods, but they have relationships with some sort of faith-based entity in their community that they trust,” she said. 

Rotz said they encourage organizations aiming to reach communities of any size, no matter how small, to apply. 

“Already we’ve seen applications come in with a target goal of vaccinating 40 people, and we’ve seen some applications with a target goal of vaccinating more than 1,000 people,” she said. 

“And even if they don’t meet their original goal, the organizations will still be compensated based on the vaccines achieved and the person-to-person outreach they completed,” she added. 

Each organization has the discretion to choose who will give the shots but if a community-based nonprofit needs a connection to a vaccinator, Rotz said the UnitedWay can help find one through the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Interested organizations can apply through the UnitedWay. Rotz said applications are reviewed on a daily basis and applicants are notified of the decision within one week. 

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