EHF leads Your Shot Texas effort to raise confidence, access to COVID-19 vaccines

Philanthropy collaborative focuses new vaccine uptake effort on populations who have been most affected by the virus

Your Shot Texas has invested more than $400,000 in grants to help community-based organizations increase access to COVID-19 vaccines, battle hesitancy, and make sure communities that have been hit hardest by the virus have an equal shot to get vaccinated. These are the first round of grants awarded by the new $2.35 million statewide philanthropic effort created by Episcopal Health Foundation in Houston, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. in San Antonio, and The Meadows Foundation in Dallas.

Your Shot Texas is a statewide pooled fund providing grant dollars to nonprofit organizations across the state with existing relationships to priority groups, including people of color and under-resourced rural and urban communities. The fund aims to fill the gap and support outreach efforts and activities that may not qualify for public resources but offer a promising approach at increasing vaccine confidence and uptake.

“It’s clear that COVID-19 hit Black, Hispanic/Latino, and other communities the hardest during the pandemic, yet the vaccination rates within those groups lag behind,” said Elena Marks, Episcopal Health Foundation’s president and CEO. “This effort prioritizes these and other communities – including rural areas – that are outside the health care system. These groups are best reached by trusted messengers to address any remaining vaccine hesitancy and then followed up with more convenient access to getting a vaccine.”

The Your Shot Texas governing and grants committees use updated Texas data to monitor vaccination rates across the state and to inform the fund’s grantmaking strategy. You can view the latest Texas vaccination data using this embeddable interactive map.

The 12 organizations that are receiving the first round of Your Shot Texas grants cover a wide area of the state and are organizing a variety of outreach activities that include creating urban vaccine hubs, building efforts to reach homebound rural residents, canvassing neighborhoods, establishing phone and texting banks, and much more.

“While government and private providers play a critical role in vaccine uptake, we know that trusting relationships in communities of color and other marginalized populations are critical to increasing access and overcoming hesitancy,” said Oanh Maroney-Omitade, Vice President for Organizational Excellence at Methodist Healthcare Ministries. “Many of these organizations need strengthened ties with health providers or can’t receive government funding to support their vaccine uptake activities. This leaves a critical gap for private philanthropy to fill.”

“Philanthropy has played a key and diverse role in supporting communities during the pandemic,” said Kathy Smith, senior program officer at the Meadows Foundation. “Supporting these nonprofits as they work to increase vaccinations in their communities is a critical equity-focused need in which Texas philanthropy can play an important role.”

Interested nonprofits across the state will soon be able to apply for Your Shot Texas grants during a second round of funding. Organizations can register to receive funding updates by filling out an interest form at http://bit.ly/YourShotTexas.

Your Shot Texas
Round 1 Funding

TOTAL GRANTS AMOUNT:
$403,768

Organization Priority Area Amount Counties
Acts of Hope Center Vaccine Confidence & Vaccine Access $35,390 Bexar
Area Health Education Center of the Mid Rio Grande Border Area of Texas, Inc. Vaccine Confidence & Vaccine Access $40,000 Atascosa, Bailey, Bandera, Bee, Bexar, Brooks, Comal, Dimmit, Duval, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kendall, Kenedy, Kerr, Kinney, Kleberg, La Salle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Nueces, Real, San Patricio, Uvalde, Val Verde, Webb, Willacy, Wilson, Zapata, and Zavala
Ark-Tex Council of Governments Vaccine Confidence & Vaccine Access $24,478 Bowie, Cass, Delta, Franklin, Hopkins, Lamar, Morris, Red River, and Titus
Boat People SOS – Houston, Inc. Vaccine Confidence $25,000 Brazoria, Galveston, and Matagorda
East Texas Immigrant Advocacy and Resource Center Vaccine Confidence & Vaccine Access $30,000 Van Zandt and Wood
Gulf Coast Leadership Council Vaccine Confidence & Vaccine Access $39,000 Brazoria and Fort Bend
Gulf Coast Leadership Council Vaccine Confidence & Vaccine Access $39,750 Jefferson and Orange
Hispanic Leadership and Management Foundation Vaccine Confidence $37,400 All Texas Counties Except: Bastrop, Caldwell, El Paso, Harris, Hays, Travis, and Williamson
La Union del Pueblo Vaccine Confidence & Vaccine Access $40,000 Cameron
Mi Familia Vota Education Fund Vaccine Confidence & Vaccine Access $40,000 Dallas
Texas Organizing Project Education Fund Vaccine Confidence & Vaccine Access $40,000 Dallas
The Immunization Partnership Vaccine Confidence & Vaccine Access $12,750 Crosby, Lynn, and Tarrant
Total   $403,768  

Your Shot Texas is philanthropy’s collaborative response to raise confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and increase access among priority groups — those most affected by the virus and historically-marginalized populations across the state.

The $2.35 million fund was created by Episcopal Health Foundation, Methodist Healthcare Ministries, and The Meadows Foundation. The Your Shot Texas fund is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation. Other supporting funders include Arnold Ventures, The Cullen Foundation, The Cullen Trust for Health Care, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Rockwell Fund, Inc.

For more information, visit http://bit.ly/YourShotTexas