Maui Coronavirus Updates

$1.1 Million in New Grants Awarded To Accelerate Vaccinations to Hawai’i’s Underserved Residents

March 25, 2021, 3:12 PM HST
* Updated March 25, 4:22 PM
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  • Lānaʻi Community Health Center is one of 15 federally qualified health centers receiving grant money to vaccinate underserved residents for COVID-19. Photo Courtesy: Hawaiʻi Community Foundation
  • Bay Clinic on the Big Island is one of 15 federally qualified health centers receiving grant money to vaccinate underserved residents for COVID-19. Photo Courtesy: Hawaiʻi Community Foundation
  • A woman gets a COVID-19 vaccination at Lānaʻi Community Health Center. Photo Courtesy: Hawaiʻi Community Foundation

The Hawai‘i Community Foundation is investing $1.1 million in new grants to support and accelerate community vaccination efforts for underserved residents of Hawai’i.

The goal is for federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) to vaccinate an estimated 20,000 of Hawaiʻi’s most vulnerable people during the next three months.

The new round of grants will extend the impact of the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation’s telehealth grants of $1.3 million awarded in January 2021. The effort is in partnership with The Freeman Foundation and the Hawaiʻi Medical Service Association.

Collectively, nearly $2.5 million has been donated in the last six months to community health centers across the state to ensure that the organizations have the essential tools to meet the needs of their communities during the pandemic.

“Community health centers have always played a vital role in Hawai‘i and the past year has made their value even clearer,” said Chris van Bergeijk, senior vice president and chief impact officer at Hawaiʻi Community Foundation (HFC). “By increasing our investment in the capacities of Hawai‘i’s community health centers, we intend to fortify and accelerate the impact of a wide range of initiatives addressing the needs of the medically underserved that have long existed in our islands.”

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The 15 FQHCs across Hawai‘i will receive $1.09 million from HCF’s Hawai‘i Resilience Fund, Maui and Big Island Strong Funds and Kaua‘i Health Fund for vaccination efforts. Approximately 90 percent of the grant monies will be used to offset staffing costs, helping to preserve and create vitally important jobs.

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More broadly, the grants are intended to address technological, language and geographic barriers to administer vaccines among historically underserved populations; mitigate transportation challenges in rural areas; serve the special needs of people without housing or Internet connectivity; and establish systems to make it easier for patients to schedule and receive vaccines. 

Grant recipients will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding patient prioritization, which includes kūpuna and those with underlying health conditions.

“The generous gift from philanthropist Mackenzie Scott to the Hawai‘i Resilience Fund in December of last year has allowed our impact to go even further in meeting the evolving needs of the community during this pandemic,” HCF’s van Bergeijk said.

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“The state supports the invaluable work of FQHCs as they increase access to care and health equity within underserved communities throughout the islands,” said Dr. Elizabeth Char, director of the Hawai‘i Department of Health. “As a critical partner in the state’s vaccination plan, FQHCs have a vital role in protecting the health of the people of Hawai‘i, and we appreciate HCF’s contribution to strengthen this essential community partner.”

The FQHCs receiving grant awards are as follows:

Lāna‘i: Lānaʻi Community Health Center

Maui: Hāna Health and Mālama I Ke Ola Health Center

Moloka‘i: Molokaʻi Community Health Center

Big Island: Bay Clinic, Hāmākua-Kohala Health and West Hawaiʻi Community Health Center

Kaua‘i: Hoʻola Lāhui Hawai‘i

O‘ahu: Kalihi-Pālama Health Center, Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services, Koʻolauloa Health Center, Wahiawā Health, Waiʻanae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Waikīkī Health and Waimānalo Health Center

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