Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF) is enthusiastic to award $369,564 from its COVID-19 Vaccine Fund. These grants will improve equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine in highly impacted areas of the County through the administration of over 12,204 vaccines fully vaccinating approximately 6,742 Montgomery County residents.
HIF’s short-term, capacity building investment will pilot over #70 place-based vaccination clinics in highly impacted areas of the County to improve vaccine access and address the disparate outcomes for our black and brown residents. Thus far, grants have been awarded to: MobileMed, Care For Your Health (C4YH), and the Chinese Culture and Community Services Center (CCACC) to deploy and coordinate culturally appropriate, place-based vaccination clinics that utilize a variety of vaccine suppliers, community ambassadors and volunteers, food providers, and strategic locations to decrease barriers.
The safety-net clinics will use HIF funds to build the necessary capacities to onboard and train staff, develop locations, administrator the vaccines, and support costs for mobilizing clinics. Through valuable partnerships with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Holy Cross Hospital (HCH), the Federal Government-Federal Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and with the Maryland Equity Taskforce/National Guard these safety-net clinic partners will gain access to vaccine supplies and valuable technical assistance. We are stronger together and HIF is honored to collaborate with these incredible partners to improve vaccine access for all!
Greater DC Diaper Bank Receives Grant to Provide 60,000 diapers to Montgomery County Families
Spring 2020 required swift reaction from community organizations, public policy, and philanthropy to respond to the mounting concerns of COVID-19. In May 2020, HIF provided seed funding to support the rapid implementation of the UpCounty Consolidation Hub at BlackRock Center for the Arts. The Hub provides necessary food, hygiene items, and COVID-kits for UpCounty families. It was through this work that HIF was reintroduced to the Greater DC Diaper Bank and the gap they were filling in Montgomery County to provide families with essential items like diapers, wipes, baby gear, feminine products, and formula.
As the pandemic pushed more and more families into financial hardship, the Diaper Bank responded by providing these essential items to their more than 60 community partners and initiating 19 Diaper Need Hubs in the DC Metro Region. HIF responded by investing in the remarkable work of the DC Diaper Bank to support two Montgomery County serving nonprofits with 60,000 diapers—Family Services, Inc, a program of Sheppard Pratt, and Mary’s Center. DC Diaper Bank anticipates providing nearly 7 million diapers to families in the DC Metro Region in 2021, with 1.7 million (25%) diapers supporting Montgomery County families.
The mission of the DC Diaper Bank is to empower parents and babies in need throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia by providing an adequate and reliable source for basic baby needs and personal hygiene products. Of their current distribution partners throughout the DC Metro Region, nearly 40% (#24) are located in Montgomery County. One partner shared, “I can’t tell you how many clients and folks we have made happy with these diapers. We are so proud and honored to be a partner in serving folks with their basic needs. Thank you so much for this partnership that has served so many smiling faces. We used to get begged for diapers, it seemed to be the communities greatest need besides food.”
HIF invests in Community-based Mental Health Initiative to allow for program expansion and evaluation.
2020 was a hard year for all of us and 2021 looks to continue to be a trying time but there is a light at the end of this COVID-tunnel! While all of us had to pivot, flex, and adapt in some form, many members of our community were hit much harder. In particular, our Latino community in Montgomery County have been devastated by the pandemic. Through our Emerging Needs investment cycle, HIF was able to provide early support to Identity, based in Gaithersburg, to allow for the evaluation and expansion of their community-based mental health initiative to respond to this dire need. The community mental health project evaluation work will include collaboration with a team of researchers from the University of Maryland School of Public Health. HIF is proud to invest in community-based nonprofits who are able to offer trusted, culturally-competent programming!
In Montgomery County, we are fortunate to have reliable community partners who were ready to implement community-based programming to allow for a safe space to heal and thrive. Early in the pandemic, Identity realized that they would need to accelerate the growth of their mental health support groups by training their non-clinical staff and volunteer parent Promotoras. Promotoras are Latino community members who receive specialized training to provide basic health education and support. They are trained by Identity to provide active listening, trauma-informed coping mechanisms, management of stress, anxiety, grief, and supports for children.
To learn more about Identity and their wide variety of amazing programming, visit their website at identity-youth.org.
To receive additional information about this program or about HIF’s grant investments, please contact Director of Grants and Community Impact at Jess.Fuchs@hifmc.org.
Over the summer, the Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF) collaborated with CommonHealth ACTION (CHA) to host focus groups with HIF grantees as part of our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) assessment. We had originally hoped to launch this in the spring, but the COVID pandemic derailed these plans and we felt it imperative that we wait until our valued community partners could breathe and fully engage.
As summer fell upon us recovery remained out of sight and the disproportionate impact of the crisis on our black and brown residents was abundantly clear further exemplifying the structural inequities already present in our community. HIF knew that before we could move forward with our fiscal year 2021 funding, we needed to hear from our community partners and decided to forge ahead virtually with the EDI work. We thank and extend our gratitude to the (17) seventeen nonprofits that gave of their time this summer and are excited to share what we learned and how we are responding to the assessment.
EDI Strengths Identified by Partners:
Supports nonprofits and their missions.
Offers capacity building, provides guidance, support, understanding, and listens to objectives and plans.
Furthers EDI work and directs investments to historically underinvested communities.
Offers and funds learning opportunities including EDI trainings and webinars.
Supports partnerships, innovation, and collaboration.
Believes in the power of community supported convenings to give voice to challenges and solutions.
EDI Opportunities Identified by Partners:
Provide greater opportunities for grantees to share their perspectives during decision-making processes.
Data deadlines and reporting requirements are too demanding.
Sustainability policies negatively impact organizations who offer free programs and services.
General operating support is needed and the restricted funding prevents nonprofits from adapting and responding to the community.
Greater focus needs to be placed on cross sectoral responses to address the social determinants of health.
Supports are needed for the health, safety, healing, and restoration of staff.
HIF is proud of the work that has been done and recognizes that our EDI journey continues and initiated some key strategies this fall to further our EDI work. We remain committed to this ongoing internal reflection and evolution so that our investments are not perpetuating the systemic inequities but driving the change we want to see in pursuit of our mission.
HIF’s Fall EDI Journey:
Revamped and streamlined our application and reporting processes to better reflect the priorities identified by our grantees and create better efficiencies and less burden on grantees.
Convened monthly meetings with the Grants Advisory Committee to continue to keep them informed of the opportunities and challenges faced by our community partners.
Planned for grantee panel discussions with the Foundation staff and board to lend greater voice and share priorities.
Surveyed grantees on how they prioritized funding for both their organization and for the community and plan to utilize these results in the grant review.
Relaunched our equity webinars to offer opportunities for grantees to share how they are breaking down barriers to ensure access to programs and services.
Volunteered in the field with our nonprofits and community to connect and learn how to better support efforts through the Foundation’s investments.
Met with all our grantees virtually to revisit where they are and how we can support them in their work and make adaptations to better serve together our community.
We know this journey is not complete and our learning is not done, but with grace, empathy, and persistence we take steps each day towards building stronger and more mutually accountable relationships with our partners and community. Thank you for all that you do each day to support the health and wellness for all in Montgomery County.
Metropolitan Council of Governments shares, “Health Equity: How Opportunities for Health are Shaped by Race and Ethnicity, is a tool to normalize the conversation on why equity matters and the importance of addressing the conditions that restrict opportunities for good health and economic mobility.”
Funding support for the 2020 ‘Health Equity’ report include Healthcare Initiative Foundation, Potomac Health Foundation, Northern Virginia Health Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and CareFirst Bluecross BlueShield.