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VBPD awards $98K grant to increase access to COVID-19 info, vaccines

Virginia Board for People with DisabilitiesThe Virginia Board for People with Disabilities recently awarded a $98,842 grant to the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia to vaccinate at least 700 individuals, including at least 200 people with disabilities, and develop culturally and linguistically relevant COVID-19 information to increase awareness in diverse communities.

The center will use the funding to organize at least 50 pop-up in-home vaccinations, share information through a cadre of Disability Champions, and produce future awareness campaigns that support activism for people with disabilities.

“People with disabilities may have an increased risk for contracting COVID-19 based on where they live and available services in their communities. It is critical that they have access to the COVID-19 vaccines and associated resources,” VBPD Executive Director Teri Morgan said. “Our partnership with the ENDependence Center to make vaccines available and develop culturally and linguistically appropriate COVID-19 resources for individuals with disabilities and their support networks shows the center’s commitment to serving individuals with disabilities in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Cherie Takemoto, ENDependence Center’s Director of Disability Justice and Strategic Innovation, said the organization was recognized as an exemplary program by the Administration for Community Living for their efforts to support people with disabilities and their caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This project will build on those efforts to reach people with developmental disabilities from traditionally marginalized communities by mobilizing a trusted disability network to share COVID-19 information, as well as organize pop-up vaccination events for individuals with disabilities, extending to their networks of family, caregivers and communities,” Takemoto said.

The Ford Foundation recently recognized ECNV as one of the first recipients of its new Disability Rights Program that centers disability justice as part of its on-going diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. The key focus of the initiative is to expand and energize the field of disability coalitions and build the next generation of disability advocates.

This grant award is 100 percent federally funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, with funding and partnership support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.