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Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity Awards $9.3 Million to 49 Organizations

Bolstered by donations, including from Eli Lilly and Company, the latest round of grants will support groups fighting health disparities in 22 U.S. states.


Health Equity

Vaccinations take place at an event in Los Angeles hosted by the Shared Harvest Fund, which has launched the myCovidMD initiative to reach medically underserved communities. A recent grant from the Fund for Health Equity will support the group's VAXEQUITY effort to purchase a mobile unit and continue public health outreach and events. (Courtesy photo)

Today, Direct Relief announced more than $9.3 million in grants from its Fund for Health Equity to 49 organizations in 22 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. This new round of funding adds to the $10.1 million the organization distributed in 2021 to groups addressing health disparities in their communities.

Direct Relief established its Fund for Health Equity to mobilize financial resources for community health centers, free and charitable clinics, and other nonprofit organizations focused on non-clinical interventions that affect health. Commonly known as the social determinants of health, these factors include a person’s physical, social, cultural, and economic environments.

The 49 awardees announced today received support for a wide range of initiatives, including a campaign to overcome anti-Asian hostility and its effects on wellbeing; an initiative to develop more active lifestyles among members of the Yurok Tribe; a center supporting Black women’s wellness; and an organization focused on improving birth outcomes for refugee populations, primarily from African and Asian countries.

“This round of funding honors organizations on the front lines of their communities that are already working tirelessly to eliminate health disparities,” said Byron Scott, MD, MBA, co-chair of the Fund for Health Equity and board director of Direct Relief and chair of its Medical Advisory Council. “These funds will allow these exemplary organizations to continue innovation as they improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations across various communities in our country.”

Lilly seeded the fund with a $5 million donation as a part of its Racial Justice Commitment, an endeavor to deliver resources like education, health care, economic stability and jobs within the communities where Lilly operates. Funding from Lilly will directly support four of the forty-nine organizations listed below.

“Lilly applauds Direct Relief’s efforts to identify and contribute to worthy organizations that are working to enhance health equity,” said Leigh Ann Pusey, senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications at Lilly. “Lilly is committed to advancing racial justice and doing what we can to enhance access to quality, affordable health care.”

Awardees, by state, include:


Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice: The Health for Justice program, which connects formerly incarcerated individuals and others involved with the justice system to low-cost health services, will use the funding to provide mental health counseling, access to a forensic social worker, and financial support to grassroots organizations.

Children’s Village, Inc: This children’s group home will provide mental health services, including a counselor, a play therapist, and a therapeutic gardening program, as part of their effort to provide a safe home for children who have experienced neglect or abuse.

Grace House Ministries: The organization, which serves girls in foster care, will use the support to pay the fees of a mental health counselor and aide, and provide classroom supplies.

Medical Society of Mobile County: This professional group of physicians will provide health care screenings and health education programs, as well as working with faith leaders to reduce health issues in their communities.


Data for Indigenous Justice: The organization collects and publishes information on murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit individuals.

Yakutat Tlingit Tribe: With the goal of improving physical and mental health, the Yakutat Surf Club provides surfing instruction to children and young adults.


Asian Health Services: This Oakland-based health center is establishing an Asian American Rapid Response Team to address health disparities arising from anti-Asian hostility by responding to individuals, families, and communities in crisis around the United States.

Family Health Centers of San Diego: This federally qualified health center, one of the nation’s largest, is building a medical assistant teaching program to prepare marginalized community members for a career in health care.

Kee Char E Nar: To improve health and activity among members of the Yurok Tribe, this organization is beginning walking and running programs for all ages.

La Familia Counseling Center, Inc: The center will use the funds to train a cohort of community health workers who will provide Covid-19 outreach and vaccinations, along with mental health and wellness interventions.

Orange Country Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, Inc: The group’s Project Hope and Resilience is designed to address racial trauma and healing for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities affected by anti-Asian hostility.

Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos: This organization uses evidence-based treatments along with cultural and spiritual practices to serve First Nation and Latino individuals who have been previously incarcerated, impacted by drug use, or previously involved with gangs.

Shared Harvest Foundation: Grant funding from Lilly will enable purchase of a mobile health unit and support VAXEQUITY, an effort which works to improve vaccine efforts for people of color impacted by low access, distrust, and misinformation. The effort will also connect participants with health providers for ongoing care.

Universal Community Health Center: The FQHC will use the funding to procure materials, pay staff salaries and support patients with chronic conditions as they access telehealth in their home settings.

Vision y Compromiso: This organization provides training, workforce development, job creation, and advocacy for community health workers who conduct outreach, educate, and do other essential work in their communities.


Little Havana Activities and Nutrition Centers of Dade County, Inc: Serving primarily older adults of Caribbean and Central American heritage, this organization has a program dedicated to teaching people how to effectively communicate with health care professionals and manage chronic disease.

University of Florida Foundation: A mobile outreach clinic provides comprehensive primary care for uninsured individuals. Funds will be used to purchase a second mobile and supplies, and support staff salaries, in order to expand reproductive health services.


Center for Black Women’s Wellness: This organization provides women’s and maternal health, mental health, financial literacy, and other services to underserved individuals on Atlanta’s south side.

Food Well Alliance: This group engages community members in food-insecure neighborhoods to grow food for themselves and for donation. Funds will be used to launch a new community orcharding project, and to provide training, materials, and support for growers.

Friends of Refugees: The nonprofit’s Embrace Refugee Birth program offers culturally appropriate perinatal support for refugees primarily from African and Asian countries, with a focus on reducing disparities and improving well-being for women and their newborns.

SisterLove, Inc: In a new collaboration with Emory University’s nursing school, the organization is launching a new mobile program to take STI testing and counseling, sexual health education, and prophylactic medications to locations where they can serve communities of color.


Kokua Kalihi Comprehensive Family Services: This federally qualified health center will use the funding to hire community health workers with appropriate linguistic and cultural fluency, in order to serve their significant population of Asian American and Pacific Islander patients.


DuPage Health Coalition: The organization operates four programs to connect low-income, uninsured clients – primarily individuals from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Colombia – to affordable health services.

Family Christian Health Center: With the goal of improving health outcomes for Black families, the Community Connect program will provide pregnant women with food, education, remote monitoring, and community health advocates.


Purdue University Center for Health Equity and Innovation: A pilot program in collaboration with two local clinics will provide culturally appropriate food prescription vouchers, freshly prepared meals, nutritional counseling by community health workers, and other services.


NOELA Community Health Center: This group, which serves Black, Latino, and Vietnamese patients, will use the funding to increase colorectal cancer screening and education in uninsured populations, working to reduce the disease through early detection and treatment.

St. Gabriel Health Clinic and Gardere Center for Primary Care Services: Serving Black and Latino patients, this community health center will use the funding to provide financial assistance to those who need specialized care, such as radiology, orthopedic care, medications, or specialized equipment, and cannot afford to pay the associated fees.


Mano en Mano: The nonprofit provides access to medical care, education, housing, and legal and financial services to immigrants, farmworkers, and First Nation people.


Detroit Central City Community Mental Health, Inc., also known as Central City Integrated Health (CCIH): Lilly funding for this Detroit-based organization will support integrated street outreach to both sheltered and unsheltered homeless people, providing primary care, Covid testing and vaccinations, dental, mental health, substance use and housing.


Indigenous Peoples Task Force: The organization will use the funding to train Indigenous young adults to practice their health services skills via paid internships; equip a mobile van to deepen the organization’s work in fighting HIV, hepatitis C, and opioid use; and pay for administrative support.

New Jersey

Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative: This free and charitable clinic, which provides primary, urgent, preventative, and mental health care to uninsured individuals, recently expanded to meet the needs of the area’s Latino and Korean communities.

New Mexico

La Plazita Institute: With a focus on undocumented individuals and those with a history of incarceration, the organization provides peer-to-peer community health work as well as programs to assist with food insecurity and employment, address individual needs, and navigate institutions and systems.

North Carolina

El Centro Hispano, Inc: The funding will be used to retain promotores assisting members of the community and to build an emergency fund to help with food, rent, and medical needs.

Goshen Medical Center, Inc.: Funding from Lilly for this health center will expand pharmacy programs serving patients in rural areas of the state by supporting the start-up of three additional pharmacies that will serve patients with limited ability to pay for prescription medications.

Vecinos, Inc: The free clinic, which serves a population of farmworkers and migrant agricultural workers, is working to improve nutrition and health for patients with diabetes and hypertension, through a nurse practitioner, community health workers, and access to telehealth.


Asian Services in Action: Serving many of the region’s new arrivals, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and refugees from African and Middle Eastern countries, this health center focuses on providing culturally appropriate and linguistically specific health, social, legal, and interpretative services.


Health Outreach Prevention Education, Inc: This free clinic, which cares for historically underserved individuals experiencing HIV and other communicable diseases, plans to expand its services with a focus on Latinos, unhoused individuals, and intravenous drug users.


Puentes de Salud: Dedicated to serving Latino immigrant communities, primarily from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, this clinic provides health services, a Food Access program with an onsite Food Pharmacy, and mental health care.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Free Clinic: The funding will be used to build and expand the clinic’s digital infrastructure, including its electronic medical records, hardware, and software.


Centro Hispano de East Tennessee: Funding from Lilly for this project will support training of medical interpreters for the growing Latino population in Knoxville and surrounding areas. The program will train youth as certified medical interpreters, creating a new post-secondary career path for Latino youth in the area eliminating the language barrier and empowering patients in their health decision making.


University of Texas at El Paso: University faculty and students operate health fairs with promotores and community organizations, providing a wide range of health services as well as follow-up navigation to medical, housing, food, legal, mental health, and substance use disorder services; this program is in collaboration with Centro San Vicente and Opportunity Center for the Homeless.

Centro San Vicente: This federally qualified health center will employ a mobile health clinic staffed in part with university students, serving homeless and uninsured individuals with primary, dental, pharmacy, and mental health care.

Opportunity Center for the Homeless: The center, which is staffed by individuals with relevant lived experiences, will use the funds to purchase a pickup truck, food containers, tents, sleeping bags, and other supplies to conduct outreach to individuals and families lacking permanent housing.

LBU Community Center: The funding will be used to teach children with asthma and their caretakers how to care for the disease more effectively and to purchase relevant medical equipment, reducing the need for in-person visits and increasing school attendance.

Ubi Caritas Health Ministries: This health clinic will use the funding to provide additional education and nutritional counseling to Latino patients with diabetes.

Young Women’s Christian Association San Antonio: The organization will work to train young women for careers in health professions such as acute care technician, certified nurse’s aide, phlebotomist, and medical assistant; childcare, mentoring, and tutoring will be provided if needed.


CrossOver Healthcare Ministry: Two free and charitable clinics provide primary, specialty, dental, vision, pediatric, mental health, and other kinds of care to a patient base primarily combined of immigrants and refugees from approximately 100 different nationalities.

Washington, DC

GirlTrek, Inc: This organization, which has already reached 1 million Black women, will use the funding to train a force of 100 organizers to work in communities, encouraging more women to improve their physical and mental health, and reclaim the streets in their neighborhood, by walking.

Vida Senior Centers: This organization will use the funding to purchase medical equipment and support the costs of a social worker, health counselor, nutritionist, and promotoras to serve its primarily Spanish-speaking patient population.

The awardees were selected by the Fund for Health Equity’s Advisory Council:

• Co-Chair Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, 18th U.S. Surgeon General of the United States, Founder Bayou Clinic, Inc.
• Co-Chair Byron Scott, MD, MBA, Board Director of Direct Relief and Chair of its Medical Advisory Council
• Martha Dawson, DNP, MSN, RN, FACHE, President of the National Black Nurses Association, Associate Professor the University of Alabama at Birmingham
• Jane Delgado, Ph.D., MS, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health
• Gail Small, JD, Head Chief Woman, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe

Previous rounds of grant awards are available here:
Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity Awards $8.1 Million to 40 Organizations

• Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity, With Support from AbbVie, Awards $1.8 Million to 10 Healthcare Organizations

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