Nonprofits and communities participated in the June National Month of Action to increase COVID-19 vaccinations. Through the We Can Do This vaccination campaign, President Biden set a target of 70% of adults vaccinated with at least one shot by the Fourth of July. While we fell short, we are making progress toward the goal through localized efforts. The White House partnered with nonprofits through the Made to Save coalition, which supported nonprofits in hosting vaccination drives and education events during June and across the country. Many Independent Sector members participated in the campaign and we highlighted some incredible work last month by the YMCA of the USA, UnidosUS, and Interfaith Youth Core in a blog – Nonprofits Step Up to Boost U.S. Vaccination Rates and Close Disparities.
Among Independent Sector’s efforts during the National Month of Action, we partnered with The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to support a series of state-based calls with faith and community leaders. Because the decision to vaccinate is ultimately personal, Independent Sector sought to connect national policymakers with influential voices in communities to encourage residents to get vaccinated.
The calls provided context on current vaccination rates and optimal populations that can be moved toward vaccination. Faith and community leaders discussed with the Administration what is working in their communities, challenges they face in getting people vaccinated, and what resources are needed. These calls were held in states that have low vaccination rates, but where there is still an identified movable population, including Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, and Mississippi.
We encouraged The White House to rely on the nonprofit sector during these state conversations as trusted voices in communities. As the recent 2021 Independent Sector Trust in Civil Society report highlights, nonprofits are trusted institutions, and there is high confidence in philanthropy and nonprofits to strengthen society.
During each call, we encouraged the Administration to include IS partners in each state to represent the sector. Nonprofit and philanthropic leaders spoke on the calls to their roles as credible, nonpartisan leaders in their communities, gave examples of the amazing work nonprofits are doing across their states, and encouraged the Biden Administration to partner with the sector to create positive change across the country.
These conversations highlighted the sector’s amazing power to mobilize for change. Through their established roles in communities, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations can bring people together, develop and share valuable resources, and educate against misinformation. As the bridge between national and local, we rightfully belong in conversations with the Administration as national policy is created and implemented.
The time of mass vaccinations is over. This new phase of vaccinations will be inspired by credible voices closer to home: a family doctor, a faith leader, a family member or friend, or a community leader. Nonprofit leaders and faith leaders are central in this fight to get all American adults 18 and over vaccinated. We are the trusted voices in our communities that can help move people from hesitant to vaccinated against the virus. We can save lives and prevent the spread of COVID-19 through personal engagement focused on listening, understanding, and sharing accurate information.
Independent Sector is proud to have amplified the voices of sector leaders during the June National Month of Action, helping to translate national policy initiatives into effective community action.