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‘The last mile’: Ball Brothers Foundation Announces Grants to Support COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Tuesday, February 16, 2021
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Hospitals, public health departments and healthcare organizations are carrying the brunt of COVID-19 efforts: caring for the ill, monitoring the spread of cases, educating the public about prevention methods, running testing sites and, now, managing the monumental task of carrying out the largest vaccination efforts in the nation’s history.

To alleviate this burden, Ball Brothers Foundation has stepped in with multi-phase funding to assist in the distribution of vaccines locally.

“The logistics of vaccine distribution are deeply complicated, and success will ultimately come down to the last mile—the process of actually getting shots out of vials and into people’s arms,” said Jud Fisher, president and chief operating officer of Ball Brothers Foundation. “As a locally-focused grantmaker, we are uniquely positioned to provide early support to help ensure our community is equipped to expediently, efficiently and equitably distribute the vaccine.”

In its first phase of funding, the foundation awarded grants totaling $70,000 in December 2020 and January 2021. These grants supported the following organizations in this “last mile” push:

  • Open Door Health Services: $25,000 for vaccine distribution planning and implementation, including potential use of mobile unit
  • Delaware County Health Department: $25,000 for staffing costs for vaccine clinics, meals for clinic staff and volunteers, supplies and equipment for vaccine clinics
  • Delaware County Office of Information/Delaware County Emergency Management Agency: $5,000 for supplies and equipment for vaccine clinics, as well as distribution of public health information about safety of vaccine and sign-up processes
  • IU Health Foundation/Ball Memorial Hospital: $5,000 for supplies for IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital’s vaccination clinic, including masks, gloves, sanitizer, bandages, etc.
  • Meridian Health Services: $5,000 for vaccine clinic personnel, personal protective equipment, registration supplies, outdoor tent and heaters for drive-through clinic, and marketing expenses
  • Ball State University: $5,000 to partner with Delaware County Health Department to develop mass vaccination site and to allow staff/volunteers to assist with sites; funding will also support vaccine information campaign targeted to BSU students and employees

Since 1926, Ball Brothers Foundation has operated under the mission of “improving the quality of life in Muncie, Delaware County, East Central Indiana, and Indiana through philanthropy and leadership.” This means not only supporting efforts that set up the community for long-term success, but also reacting to current and urgent needs, Fisher said. Because of this philosophy, supporting COVID needs and vaccination efforts during these trying times came naturally.

“This is one of the most significant crises that our community has faced in many generations. Guided by timeless Ball family values of generosity, stewardship and leadership, it is incumbent on us—as a foundation and as members of this community—to do our part to help bring this crisis to an end,” Fisher said.

Ball Brothers Foundation has remained steadfast in its efforts to support the community through the pandemic. To date, the foundation has awarded more than $600,000 in grants to support COVID-19 relief efforts.

Ball Brothers Foundation is planning a second phase of vaccine distribution funding—with grants anticipated to total up to $250,000—this spring, further targeting vaccination efforts throughout Delaware County and East Central Indiana. All organizations that received funding in phase one have been invited to apply for additional funding in phase two.

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