Jun 24, 2021 · 4 min read

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Announces $15 Million COVID-19 Response Portfolio for Vaccine Equity and Community Engagement Efforts

Support for Schools, Community-Based Outreach Programs, Public Communications Campaigns, and Research Centered on Disproportionately Impacted Populations

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Today, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) announced a commitment of $15 million to help bolster COVID-19 response and recovery efforts in hard-hit and disproportionately affected Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other communities of color across the country. This portfolio — driven by a cross-functional CZI task force over the last eight months — funds community-based organizations on the frontlines of public health outreach; regional and national communications campaigns and media projects around vaccine education; local school support; and research to help better understand attitudes around vaccine hesitancy in Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities.

“This pandemic has pushed every one of our systems to the brink, magnifying deep inequities that have always persisted,” said Priscilla Chan, co-founder and co-CEO of CZI. “That’s why we must take a comprehensive, equity-centered approach to response and recovery, and empower deeply embedded frontline organizations to meet people where they are in the short-term, while also working to rebuild trust in science — from the community up — in the long term.”

To date, CZI has funded organizations working on a variety of efforts — including support for national, regional, and hyper-local work — all operating through a lens of racial and health equity. Initial partners include:

Research on vaccine attitudes and behaviors:

Communications and media projects:

Community engagement and response efforts: 

Support for schools:

This initial $15 million portfolio for community engagement and communications efforts builds on over a year of broader response work, and compliments CZI’s ongoing racial equity giving. Since April 2020, CZI has committed over $110 million to COVID-19 recovery efforts — worldwide and at the state and local level, including:

  • More than $20 million to support teachers and students impacted by the pandemic, with a focus on communities of color, including grants to help address the digital divide, for teacher professional development, and for the social and mental wellbeing of students and educators.
  • $4.7 million to stand up a new CLIA-certified testing lab — in only eight days — through partnerships with the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, and the University of California, San Francisco. 
  • $2 million for Returning Home Well, a joint effort with the State of California, other philanthropies, and nonprofit service providers to provide resources and support for people returning home from prison during COVID-19.
  • More than $12 million to support emergency relief and the long-term response in the San Francisco Bay Area, including expanded health services, remote learning, financial assistance, and small business relief.

“Vaccinating hundreds of millions is an unprecedented effort that requires tremendous collaboration with the communities hardest hit by the disease,” said Tania Simoncelli, Vice President of CZI’s Science in Society Program.  “There is no single solution. That’s why we’re investing in hyper-local approaches to understand and learn from these communities and meet them where they are.  We will get through this pandemic, but only if we all work together.”

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About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of our local communities. Our mission is to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit www.chanzuckerberg.com.

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