KC Area Foundations Award Grants to Support Vaccine Education

May 13, 2021

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Three Kansas City metro area health foundations have awarded $271,600 in grants to 28 community and grassroots organizations to provide COVID-19 vaccine education to improve vaccination rates in communities of color, rural areas and in targeted neighborhoods where vaccine uptake has lagged.

The Health Forward Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation and Wyandotte Health Foundation partnered to create the Vaccine Education Equity Fund to support educational efforts focused on Black, Latinx, immigrant and refugee, and rural communities. The fund was designed to ensure that historically underserved communities receive timely and accurate information about COVID vaccines and their safety.

“We know that successful vaccine uptake is key to ensuring we can get back to normal. But it’s going to take all of us. This funding supports trusted community partners who provide clear and accurate information to address distrust and misinformation,” said Qiana Thomason, President and CEO, Health Forward Foundation.

The organizations selected for funding have demonstrated experience working with Black, Latinx, immigrant and refugee, and rural populations on health and other related issues. Emphasis also was placed on engaging organizations that use grassroots and community-focused outreach methods in their work. Grants were limited to a maximum of $10,000 and designed to be implemented within the calendar year.

“The organizations selected for funding offer unique perspectives on how to bridge vaccine concerns,” said Brenda Sharpe, President and CEO, REACH Healthcare Foundation. “Given the changing nature of vaccine information, it’s even more critical to enlist the expertise of these trusted partners.”

“These organizations are committed to their communities, and the projects they’ve planned clearly demonstrate that, said Cathy Harding, President and CEO, Wyandotte Health Foundation. “We’re so fortunate to partner with them on these important initiatives to provide information critically needed today.”

Vaccine Education Equity Fund grants were awarded to the following organizations:


Avenue of Life, Wyandotte County – Engage outreach navigators to provide education on the health benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine and conduct education at food distribution events.

Bethel Neighborhood Center, Wyandotte County – Connect with culturally diverse seniors, youth, families and refugee populations through workshops, town halls and family assistance events.

Center of Grace, Johnson County – Provide culturally relevant vaccine education to refugee and limited-English speaking community members through existing food assistance and medical support services.

Central Avenue Betterment Association, Wyandotte County – Produce vaccine education videos to use with business owners and community members that live and/or work in the business district that serves a predominant Latinx population.

Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, Wyandotte County – Engage local leaders and community health workers to canvass targeted Zip codes to provide vaccine and testing information, and assist with transportation to vaccine sites.

El Centro, Inc., Wyandotte County – Utilize Welcoming Center for Latino immigrants and families, including use of promotoras, ambassadors and public service messages, to deliver vaccine information to Spanish-speaking clients.

Groundwork Northeast Revitalization Group, Kansas City, KS – Engage youth through summer program in designing a community education campaign on COVID-19 and the benefits of the vaccine.

JUNTOS Center for Advancing Latino Health, Wyandotte County — Leverage network of health, social service and faith-based partners to disseminate information on vaccine safety using virtual forums, social media and Spanish-language podcast.

Made Men Inc., Wyandotte County – Use “Beat The Virus” campaign strategies and messages to disseminate information and assist with vaccine questions, scheduling and transportation.

NBC Community Development Corporation, Wyandotte County – Build on connections to Black, Latinx and immigrant communities to provide education through food distribution, COVID testing and faith community outreach.

The Village Initiative, Inc., Wyandotte County – Leverage weekly food and household sanitation and hygiene item distribution efforts to educate vulnerable families on vaccine safety and availability.

Thrive Allen County, Allen County – Expand on rural development organization’s health outreach and transportation programs, and partnerships with local health providers to address vaccine safety.


ArtsTech, Kansas City, MO – Engage high school youth in developing culturally relevant vaccine safety messages for a health-focused weekly radio program that focuses on a predominately Black audience.

Black Health Care Coalition, Kansas City, MO – Implement agency’s “Is the Science Safe?” public information campaign to address vaccine hesitancy, connect Black residents to vaccine sites, and incorporate messages at home day cares and barber/beauty salons.

BlaqOut, Kansas City Metro Area – Engage HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ advocates and other individuals through direct messages, social media and storytelling to address vaccine concerns in the Black community.

Emmanuel Family and Child Development Center, Kansas City, MO – Provide vaccine education to Black and Latinx families, including co-hosted education forums with Swope Health Services.

Front Porch Alliance, Kansas City, MO – Disseminate testing, safety and vaccination information to residents in targeted Zip codes through direct mail, website and community programming.

Guadalupe Centers, Kansas City, MO – Expand outreach to Hispanic community through trained staff, public service and social media communications, and distribution of bilingual print materials.

Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri, Lafayette County – Use rural health network and health center staff, partners and events to organize education, testing and vaccine distribution.

Jewish Vocational Service, Kansas City Metro Area – Train agency staff and refugee community navigators to provide COVID information and host multilingual forums for addressing vaccine concerns.

Mattie Rhodes Center, Kansas City Metro Area – Partner with Spanish-language news media and health leaders to produce bilingual COVID videos to increase understanding and acceptance of the vaccine.

Migrant Farmworkers Assistance Fund, Lafayette County — Provide vaccine information, scheduling and transportation for migrant farmworkers in coordination with county health department.

MORE2 – Kansas City Metro Area – Use grassroots engagement strategies to address vaccine safety, with focus on six faith groups serving Black, Latinx and immigrant members in the metro area.

Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center/Mexican Consulate, Kansas City, MO – Leverage health partnership with the Mexican Consulate to provide bilingual COVID education and address vaccine misconceptions.

St. Stephen Baptist Church, Kansas City, MO – Leverage services of historic Black church to build a resource map and conduct outreach using teleconferences, canvassing, events and social media.

Urban League of Greater Kansas City, Kansas City Metro Area – Partner with the National Urban League and CDC Health Equity, Vaccine Hesitancy and Update Initiative to educate Black and Latinx communities on the efficacy and availability of vaccines, including collaboration with the Urban Council and elected leaders working in focus Zip code neighborhoods.

Urban Summit, Kansas City Metro Area – Develop a “COVID-Connection” communications program using network of partners and social, digital and news media focused on Black audiences to disseminate vaccine information.

Uzazi Village, Kansas City Metro Area – Build on perinatal health services for Black and Latinx women to provide culturally relevant information on COVID and the vaccine.

For more information on the Vaccine Education Equity Fund, contact:

Health Forward Foundation | Jennifer Sykes, (913) 669-2872, jsykes@healthforward.org

REACH Healthcare Foundation | Pattie Mansur, (816) 674-2745, pattie@reachhealth.org

Wyandotte Health Foundation | Randy Lopez, (913) 371-4032, rlopez@wyhealthfdn.org


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