The goal is to fill information gaps and foster trust for COVID-19 vaccines and prevention among communities most affected by the pandemic

OAKLAND, Calif. – The COVID-19 pandemic has been deeply challenging to all of us, but especially communities of color. These disparities are rooted in underlying, systemic issues in healthcare services – both past and present – yet throughout last year, the federal government failed to adequately serve communities of color.

The East Bay Community Foundation is doing what we can to help make sure that communities of color get accurate information about how to stay safe to protect their families and their neighbors at this difficult time.

Today, we are sharing this news about our partnership with Kaiser Permanente to launch The COVID-19 African American Education and Outreach Partnership. This campaign is designed to make sure that accurate public health information and resources reach communities most impacted by this pandemic.

As the lead philanthropic partner for this campaign, the East Bay Community Foundation coordinates re-granting, helps manage learning across the various partners, including community-based organizations, state public health departments, and Congressional representatives.

Kaiser Permanente’s equity education campaign is comprised of:

  • Collaboration with social media -influencers whose trusted voices deliver COVID-19 prevention messages to specific communities
  • Bilingual public service announcement advertisements targeted to Latinx and African American audiences
  • Support for community-based organizations across the country

So far, Kaiser Permanente has provided $5 million in grants to support 24 nonprofit and community-based organizations that are providing direct assistance in communities across the U.S. to those most affected by COVID-19.

“Increased vaccine supply and availability are vitally important right now, and so is the need for the public to be confident in their safety and to be willing to be vaccinated, particularly those communities most affected by the pandemic,” said Greg Adams, Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO. “Our message to these communities is to continue to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 as the vaccine rollout continues, and our efforts are focused on providing the information, resources and support to stay safe and healthy during this critical time.”

A year into the pandemic, Hispanic and African Americans continue to die at 2.8 times the rate of white Americans. White and higher-income Americans are also more likely to have received a vaccine than their African American, Hispanic and lower-income peers. While there is less data available for Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander communities, nearly 25% of people in this group serve in essential roles, such as military, security, manufacturing, health and service-related industries, which likely exacerbates the pandemic’s impact.

Kaiser Permanente’s $5 million in grants will fund programs and provide resources for communities facing an uphill recovery from the pandemic’s devastating impacts. The recipients include faith-based organizations, community health centers and clinics, and advocacy groups that are creating and distributing culturally and linguistically appropriate information on COVID-19 prevention – including testing, vaccination, therapeutics, and healthy behaviors.

Kaiser Permanente selected the East Bay Community Foundation as its lead philanthropic partner to provide outreach in the African American community, based on its trusted reputation in the community. The foundation has coordinated 12 community-based organizations leading effective messaging to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and increase the efficiency of vaccination efforts. It also serves as a connector ensuring the experience of community members informs the design and implementation of equitable state and federal programs.

“This campaign is a strong reminder of how important community-based organizations are,” said James Head, CEO of the East Bay Community Foundation. “Our community partners are trusted messengers who provide services and share essential information at a critical moment in the pandemic. We hope that this effort will provide important lessons on how to protect public health and improve national health policies to support communities of color during this crisis and beyond.”

The community-based organizations doing outreach run the gamut from community health clinics to faith-based organizations. In Oakland, California, the Allen Temple Baptist Church is training a network of trusted messengers to encourage their neighbors and friends to wear masks, stay distanced, get tested, and get vaccinated.

“Although we know COVID-19 kills African Americans at a disproportionate rate, there are many in the community who remain distrustful of both testing and vaccination, particularly at non-traditional points of access,” said Rev. Dr. Jacqueline A. Thompson, senior pastor at Allen Temple Baptist Church. “We are a ministry with a 101-year legacy of serving, educating, empowering and advocating for those who feel overlooked by larger systems in our community. They depend on us as a trusted source of support and information. We have a moral obligation to make sure our community has both accurate facts regarding the disease and access to life saving measures. The community is responding in powerful ways – they’re making decisions to test and be vaccinated and that’s making a huge difference.”

This support is part of Kaiser Permanente’s established commitment to improving health equity in the communities it serves – a need that has been made tragically clear by the COVID-19 pandemic – and follows on the announcement in June of a $25 million investment to address systemic racism and its accompanying trauma among communities of color. Partnering with organizations that have a longstanding, trusted presence within communities is a priority for the organization.

“I’m pleased that Kaiser Permanente is helping to create better health outcomes for more people by going beyond the limits of traditional health care to support programs and practices that impact our broader community,” said Representative Barbara Lee, D-CA.

Kaiser Permanente is supporting this targeted campaign through September. The organization has also joined industry and public health partners to support an equitable response to COVID-19, including the COVID Collaborative, the Ad Council, and as a member of America’s Health Insurance Plans.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.4 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.

About East Bay Community Foundation

Founded in 1928, and supported by over 400 local donors, the East Bay Community Foundation connects donors with community-led movements to eliminate structural barriers, advance racial equity, and create an inclusive, fair, and just East Bay. Recognized as 2019’s “Boldest Community Foundation” by Inside Philanthropy, EBCF is committed to ensuring that all members of our community are treated fairly, with equitable opportunity and outcomes. EBCF has charitable assets under management of over $800 million. For more information, visit