CenterPlace Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center that provides high-quality, low-cost health care to Sarasota County families, has received a $50,000 grant to expand COVID-19 vaccine outreach through the regional “Shots in Arms” campaign. The funding comes from the COVID-19 Response Initiative of Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation and Gulf Coast Community Foundation, an initiative created in response to the pandemic to help secure the health, safety, and well-being of communities in the Sarasota region.

The new grant will help CenterPlace bring mobile vaccination units directly into the community. The organization is a partner in the Shots in Arms Coalition, a group of community leaders focused on getting as many residents as possible vaccinated. The effort targets communities where access or hesitancy is an issue. For its part, CenterPlace is retrofitting and staffing two mobile health-clinic vans for safe and effective vaccine distribution.

The CenterPlace Health team at a community outreach event

“We are so grateful for this collaboration, as it shows the impact that can be made when our community comes together,” said Melissa Parker, CEO of CenterPlace Health. “It fills a critical funding gap and will enable us to utilize our mobile units to get COVID-19 vaccinations to the underserved residents of Sarasota County through the Shots in Arms Initiative.”

The foundations’ COVID-19 Response Initiative was designed to adapt and evolve along with the pandemic and its impacts. With the new surge in cases, making sure vaccinations are readily available and easy to access remains as important as ever.

“With the rapid rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19, it is critical that everyone get vaccinated to finally put an end to this pandemic that has disrupted our lives and economy,” said Teri A Hansen, CEO of Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. “Nowhere is that need more critical—as the vaccination data shows—than in our region’s diverse communities. We are so appreciative of the tireless work that CenterPlace has been doing throughout the pandemic to improve our neighbors’ health.”

Cultivating crucial community connections in the interests of local public health

The grant coincides with National Health Center Week, which takes place August 8–14. Community health centers like CenterPlace have been key to ensuring that anyone can access affordable, quality health care during and beyond the pandemic. In Sarasota County, CenterPlace Health ensures caring, affordable health care for everyone, regardless of insurance status.

“CenterPlace Health has been a regional leader in responding to the pandemic’s impacts,” said Mark Pritchett, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “From virtual clinics to vaccination outreach, CenterPlace has worked with heart to proactively protect our community.”

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