Will County Health Department is offering grants for COVID-19 vaccine outreach

Health officials look to partner with local community organizations

The Will County Health Department is accepting applications for funding to local community-based organizations to enhance efforts to vaccinate Black, Latino and rural residents for COVID-19.

Through the grants of up to $15,000, the health department is looking to partner with local organizations on its vaccine operation, according to a news release. Vaccination rates have slowed dramatically in Will County in recent months, like they have across the state and nation.

“We have made great strides in vaccinating the people of Will County in the last five months,” said Sue Olenek, the executive director of Will County Health Department, in the release. “However, we still have certain populations who are resistant to receiving the vaccination and we are doubling down on our efforts to reach them, address their concerns and increase the COVID-19 vaccination rates through partnering with local trusted organizations.”

Organizations can apply until July 19 at 5 p.m. for 10 separate awards between $1,000 and $15,000 for their part in helping vaccinate more residents.

The applicants’ plans need to include, but are not limited to, assisting with COVID-19 education, outreach, and access. Applicants will answer a series of questions on how the funding will be used when they apply. The department will look to see what each organization plans to spend on digital and print communications, staffing, supplies and door-to-door outreach.

“As trusted leaders, local agencies and churches will help us to extend WCHD’s reach into the community,” Vinita Voss, the health department’s health equity manager, said in a statement. “This is especially important for those who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The awards will be announced on Aug. 2 and the funding will be able to be used through the end of next January.

To apply, organizations can go to willcountyhealth.org, click on the COVID-19 heading at the top, and scroll down to the “Community Based Organization Funding” tab.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.