Wolf Administration Partners with United Way of Pennsylvania to Offer Local Grant Opportunities to Reduce Vaccine Hesitancy

The Wolf Administration and the United Way of Pennsylvania today launched the Local Innovations in Vaccine Equity in Pennsylvania project (LIVE PA) to administer $4 million in mini-grants to local organizations aimed to reduce vaccine hesitancy and ensuring an equitable vaccine distribution throughout the commonwealth.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on the significant disparities in health care across the nation. To combat this, Pennsylvania has worked to ensure we have an effective and equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.” said Governor Tom Wolf. “The launch of LIVE PA is another key component to ease access and hesitancy to the COVID-19 vaccines. Local, grassroots organizations are staffed by community members throughout the commonwealth and have proven to be effective in reaching minority populations. I look forward to the impact this project will make to further combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

LIVE PA is a collaboration between the Wolf Administration’s Office of Advocacy and Reform and the departments of Health and Human Services, working closely with the United Way of Pennsylvania to fund hyper-local, grassroots nonprofit organizations to partner with certified vaccine providers to help the populations they serve overcome barriers to vaccination.

“This grant opportunity grew out of the work of the Racial Equity Subcommittee of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force,” shared Dr. Dan Jurman, chair of the subcommittee and Executive Director of the Office of Advocacy and Reform in Governor Wolf’s Office. “As we examined the barriers to vulnerable populations and ethnic minorities getting the vaccines it became clear that the solutions to overcoming things like language, technology, transportation, childcare, hesitancy, work schedule, and other barriers already existed in the grassroots nonprofits that already serve those populations.  We just needed to get them the resources to connect with vaccinators and do the work.”

With a reimbursement rate of $10 per shot achieved, the grants are designed initially to range from $200 to $20,000 per vaccination event.  It also includes a requirement that the nonprofits and the local United Way chapters involved promote the events using traditional and digital media to help fight vaccine hesitancy.

“Many of the unvaccinated community members Pennsylvania is trying to reach through this grant have been bearing a disproportionate share of the health impacts of COVID-19 and have faced longstanding disparities in health. We are so pleased to use our network of local United Ways across Pennsylvania to make these funds accessible to any local partner who is able to help vulnerable populations access COVID-19 vaccine. This grant will help bring the financial resources to support small nonprofits, churches, other community and neighborhood organizations with the relationship power to increase equitable vaccine distribution,” said Kristen Rotz, President of United Way of Pennsylvania.

The pilot phase of LIVE PA will target the zip codes and census tracts with the highest levels of health disparities, poverty, and vaccine inequity in the commonwealth.  Those initial areas include:

  • Allentown – 18102, 18101, 18105
  • Chester – 19013
  • Reading – 19601, 19602
  • Harrisburg – 17110, 17103
  • Erie – 16503, 16501, 16507
  • Braddock – 15104
  • McKeesport – 15134
  • Pittsburgh – 15219, 15208, 15282, 15264
  • Johnstown – 15907
  • Lancaster – 17602, 17603

After the pilot phase is complete, the grant opportunity will scale to cover the entire commonwealth over time, targeting vulnerable populations with barriers to vaccination in rural, urban, and suburban communities.

Individuals or organizations interested in learning more about eligibility and the application process should reach out to their local United Way chapter or the United Way of Pennsylvania at info@uwp.org.

To learn more about the United Way of Pennsylvania and find a location near you visit https://www.uwp.org/find-your-united-way/.