United Ways serving as 'vaccine hubs' in high-need Michigan counties

Heart of West Michigan United Way.png
Posted at 9:24 AM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 09:24:25-04

MICHIGAN — The Michigan Association of United Ways and the Michigan Nonprofit Association are launching a new initiative to encourage COVID-19 vaccination uptake and support reaching the state’s 70% vaccination rate target.

As part of the “Get Vaccinated Michigan” effort, United Way offices across the state – including Greater Ottawa County United Way – will serve as a “hub” in high-need communities to develop unique plans for their communities in support of fieldwork for nonprofits, according to a news release Friday.

High-need counties were determined based on United Way’s ALICE Report data and the Social Vulnerability Index.

Efforts will include:

  • Forming a state-level steering committee composed of statewide organizations that represent the groups serving hard-to-reach communities, including the Michigan Primary Care Association and Federally Qualified Health Centers.
  • Initiating statewide communications with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and CDC, and making those resources widely available to local nonprofits.
  • Assisting nonprofits in identifying and reaching vulnerable populations.
  • Awarding mini-grants to local nonprofits to target fieldwork and engagement.
  • Collecting, analyzing and visualizing data to assist local efforts.

“From working with our state-level steering committee to supporting our exceptional United Way hubs, mini-grant recipients and nonprofits, I am incredibly proud to be an advocate for MAUW’s ‘Get Vaccinated Michigan’ program,” said Mike Lawson, president and CEO of the Michigan Association of United Ways. “Our local United Ways, especially, are the backbone of our mission and, as we continue to push toward that 70% vaccination rate, I am confident that these efforts will propel our state forward toward stronger health, education and financial stability.”

Michigan has invested $2.5 million in the project.

With an additional match of $2.5 million from private donors, MAUW says it will be able to evaluate and monitor success of the program, establish hubs in other parts of the state and focus on equity where it’s needed most, especially in widespread rural and high-density urban areas.