The Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) announced that it has received a $400,000 grant from The Rockefeller Foundation to improve vaccination rates among Black women and communities of color.

The grant is part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s $20 million Equity-First Vaccination Initiative, which supports hyper-local, community-led programs to improve vaccine access and support educational outreach in five cities. Learnings from the initiative will help inform strategies across the country to increase access to Covid-19 vaccinations in communities of color, contributing to a collective, national north star goal of ensuring at least 70 million people of color will be fully vaccinated by July 2021.

“The Rockefeller Foundation is thrilled to be supporting Black Women’s Health Imperative so that Black women and their families feel confident about why and how to get the Covid-19 vaccine.”

Greg Johnson, Managing Director for the Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation

“Throughout the pandemic, the disparities in health, economic, and social outcomes have been stark for Black women and their families,” said Linda Goler Blount, President and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative. “This grant will help us equip Black women with science-based information so that they’re empowered to educate their families, friends, and communities about the Covid-19 vaccines.”

BWHI will form strategic partnerships with the National Caucus & Center on Black Aging (NCBA) and National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW) to launch Covid-19 vaccine and equity initiatives in Baltimore, Md.; Chicago, Ill.; Houston, Texas; Newark, N.J.; Oakland, Calif.. Community organizations, the Southern Christian Leadership Global Policy Initiative, and R.E.A.C.H. Beyond Solutions, as well as the New Jersey Department of Health, will support. The professional athletes with the Women’s National Basketball Players Association will also collaborate with the BWHI to support this public health campaign across their fanbases and within their communities by encouraging vaccine education, awareness, and advocating for equitable access. 

“The heavy toll of Covid-19 on Black America is sharpened for Black women, who bear the brunt of health, economic, and social disparities,”

Greg Johnson, Managing Director for the Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation

BWHI will convene a Covid-19 Vaccine Awareness & Equity Task Force to provide high-impact advocacy recommendations to boost Covid-19 vaccine uptake. The task force will include the leaders of NCBA and NCBW, policymakers, disparities experts, and community organizations.

“We’re excited to partner with Black Women’s Health Imperative to address vaccine equity in our communities,” said Karyne Jones, President and CEO of NCBA. “African American adults 60 and over have been hardest hit by Covid-19. We want to make sure they understand that vaccines are safe and effective – and will enable them to get back to enjoying life with their families.”

“We’re committed to meeting people where they are in order to remove barriers to vaccination, reduce hesitancy, and empower people to live, work, and assemble without fear,” said Virginia W. Harris, NCBW National President.

“We are thrilled to partner with BWHI because Black women are important influencers with their families and in their communities more broadly. Together, we can help ensure every community has credible information about the Covid-19 vaccines,” said Rhea Boyd, MD, who co-developed “THE CONVERSATION: Between Us, About Us.”

About the Black Women’s Health Imperative:
Established originally as the National Black Women’s Health Project in 1983, the BWHI is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and wellness of our nation’s 21 million Black women and girls – physically, emotionally, and financially. Our core mission is advancing health equity and social justice for Black women, across the lifespan, through policy, advocacy, education, research, and leadership development.

About The Rockefeller Foundation:
The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation, scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, ensuring equitable access to health and nutritious food, unleashing human potential to enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.