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The GAR Foundation awards $200,000 to create the Know COVID Program

The donation will be used to help bridge the gap between Akron communities and health professionals.

AKRON, Ohio — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a story published on January 26, 2021.

According to a press release sent to 3News, the GAR Foundation has announced a $200,000 donation to go to the creation of a brand-new Know COVID program, dedicated to bridging the divide between healthcare systems in Akron and neighbors who may be wary of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The foundation's goal is to bring accurate and competent information regarding the coronavirus and the COVID-19 vaccine to Black and Brown communities in the Northeast Ohio area, specifically in Akron. 

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"The path out of the pandemic is fraught by this same history of inequity; many Black citizens mistrust health institutions due to patterns of racism in the healthcare system," the release reads. 

Much like thousands of other communities across the United States, the organization points out that Akron's communities have seen higher rates of organization and job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We have two goals in creating the Know COVID program: 1) to connect the Black community to needed COVID-19 resources and 2) to support the long process of repairing trust in our healthcare system. We are encouraged that neighborhood organizations and the healthcare systems have stepped forward with enthusiasm and energy to advance these goals,” said Christine Amer Mayer, president of GAR Foundation. 

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The $200,000 donation will specifically impact the following groups: 

  • Akron Urban League
  • LINKS Community Services
  • North Akron CDC
  • Project Ujima
  • South Street Ministries
  • Love Akron 
  • ArtsNow
  • Cleveland Clinic Akron General
  • Summa Health System

“We know that our investment will not solve the long-standing systemic inequities, but we believe that this is a small step in the right direction to combat misinformation and build trust between the health systems and the communities they serve,” said Bronlynn Thurman, program officer at GAR Foundation.

RELATED: "This vaccine is a blessing;" MetroHealth reaches out to local clergy-leaders to allay fears over the COVID-19 vaccine

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