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Funding Opportunity: Community Informed COVID-19 Vaccination Plan with a Focus on Black 18- to 29-Year-Olds in Kent County


Award Amount          $65,000
Due Date                    November 1st at 5pm
Term                           January 1 – July 30, 2022
Award Notification    November 12, 2021

The Kent County Black Vaccination Resource Committee (referred to as the “Committee” in this document), comprised of Jamon Alexander, Khary Bridgewater, Deborah Clanton, Gertrude Croom, Chris Holmes, and Kelsey Perdue, in collaboration with Spectrum Health Healthier Communities, Mercy Health, and Kent County, are requesting proposals for a community-informed COVID-19 vaccination with a Focus on Black 18- to 29-year-olds in Kent County. This request for proposals is the first of a set of forthcoming strategies the Committee will be enacting.


The Kent County Black Vaccination Resource Committee is a part of the West Michigan National Infrastructure for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 within Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities (NNICE) initiative. This initiative is a CDC-funded partnership through Michigan State University. This work seeks to improve overall COVID-19 vaccination rates by targeting where people and systems require increased resources and support in Kent County and Muskegon County. This will result in $465,000 in Kent County and $170,000 in Muskegon County being granted out in 2021 and 2022, with the potential for additional funds in 2023 and 2024. Strategy and resource decisions are driven directly by the individuals most impacted by disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rates through committees called The Black Vaccination Community Resource Committee in Kent County and one in Muskegon County who will have discretion in the creation of strategy for how funding is used and voting for final proposals for use of funds.

Staff supporting the Committee from Spectrum Health include Jeremy Moore (site project investigator), Healthier Communities Director of Community Programs; Lee Moyer, Healthier Communities Director of Community Programs; Dr. Lisa Lowery, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital General Pediatrics Section Chief; Julio Cano, Healthier Communities Program Specialist; Danielle Gritters, Healthier Communities Shared Services Manager; and Alicia Kolkema, Healthier Communities Operations Specialist; Scott Opperman, Mercy Health Mission Leader; Teresa Branson, Kent County Chief Inclusion Officer; and Michael Fortman, Kent County Data Scientist.

Statement of Need

COVID-19 vaccination is a multi-faceted challenge across several regions and demographic group in Kent County. The West MI NNICE resources are focused on supporting Black COVID-19 vaccination strategies, which is one of the many strategies needed in Kent County to reach a safe COVID-19 vaccination rate for all.  The COVID-19 vaccination rate for Black people who are in the 18- to 29-year-old age range is the lowest of all Black age groups. It is unclear what may work to improve COVID-19 vaccination rates for this specific demographic. The 18 to 29 age group has not been generally engaged in solution creation for COVID-19 vaccination, and Black 18- to 29-year-olds in particular have not been engaged. Total population in Kent County for Black individuals from 18 to 29 is approximately 14,000. Currently, just over 4,000 are fully vaccinated. We hope the learning and prototyping that comes from this project will eventually lead to doubling that number through 2022.


Contract with a local, Black-led organization to engage 18- to 29-year-olds in focus groups to provide input, design a plan around what might work long-term to improve COVID-19 vaccination rates for this target group, and implement initial rapid prototyping to test assumptions in coordination with the West MI NNICE COVID-19 vaccination and training organizations.


Black 18- to 29-year-old informed plan on improving COVID-19 vaccination rate
Due:  March 15, 2022

A plan, informed by a significant and diverse set of Black 18- to 29-year-olds, outlining a set of recommended actions on how to positively increase the Black COVID-19 vaccination rate for Black 18 to 29 year-old's in Kent County.

Rapid prototyping of activities within plan in coordination with West MI NNICE COVID-19 Vaccination Sites
Due:  July 30, 2022

Rapid prototyping of recommended actions on how to positively increase the Black COVID-19 vaccination rate for Black 18- to 29-year-olds by July 1, 2022. The Kent County Black Vaccination Resource Committee is also funding a larger, Black-led COVID-19 vaccination site with details forthcoming by November 1, 2021. This proposal must demonstrate a commitment and budget time to support the COVID-19 vaccination site in rapid prototyping activities to test assumptions of the plan.

Essential Project Criteria

Primary criteria will be 1) organizations funded are from Black-led organizations in Kent County that are 2) already positioned in Black spaces and 3) have access and design capability to reach the target demographic of Black 18- to 29-year-olds
  • The proposal should lead to a plan that clearly articulates the challenges and barriers experienced for Black 18- to 29-year-olds, and articulate solutions as defined by a diversity of Black 18- to 29-year-olds.
  • The proposal will need to be aimed at conclusions that lead to rapid prototyping in partnership with the forthcoming West MI NNICE COVID-19 vaccination activities in reaching Black 18- to 29-year-olds in increasing COVID-19 vaccination.
  • A successful plan and resulting prototyping activities will have a clear and present diversity of voices from Black 18- to 29-year-olds from multiple and diverse spaces across Kent County that are evident and present throughout the process, results, and solutions prototyping.
  • The proposal must clearly demonstrate the ability to reach a significant enough number of individuals to accurately identify COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy themes among Black 18- to 29-year-olds in Kent County.
  • The proposal must demonstrate authentic partnership with Black-led organizations and organizations in close proximity to Black spaces.
  • Proposing organization and key partners must demonstrate racial diversity in their leadership and product delivery.