In Milwaukee County, less than 11% of the more than 270,000 administered COVID-19 vaccination doses have gone to Black residents, despite making up nearly 27% of the population.
As Northwestern Mutual continues to address racial disparities in its hometown through its Foundation, the company has partnered with the City of Milwaukee Health Department to launch mobile vaccination sites in the historically underserved Amani and Metcalfe Park neighborhoods. Since 2013, the company has taken a strategic approach to drive sustainable change in underrepresented Milwaukee neighborhoods.
To assure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine among Milwaukee’s Black residents, the company will fund approximately 7,000 first and second doses of one of the approved vaccines. The company has worked in close liaison with the City of Milwaukee to identify the Amani and Metcalfe Park neighborhoods as high-priority areas where residents have been most affected by the coronavirus and is convening leaders and organizations in the communities to educate, encourage and register residents for the vaccine.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, the Black community has been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus,” said Eric Christophersen, President, Northwestern Mutual Foundation. “We are committed to increasing equitable access to the vaccine and removing obstacles for those in underserved communities, moving Milwaukee forward toward growth and recovery.”
The vaccination clinics are at COA Youth & Family Centers, 2320 W. Burleigh Street, and the Wisconsin Black Historical Society, 2620 W Center Street. Each location began hosting five first and second dose clinics on March 27, administering vaccinations to residents who meet state eligibility requirements. Information on registering for vaccinations will be communicated directly to residents through the organizations leading resident engagement, Dominican Center and Metcalfe Park Community Bridges.
“As we work to bridge the vaccine disparities in Milwaukee, partnerships are vitally important. The support from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation is a stride forward in advancing vaccine equity here,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “Churches, community groups, healthcare providers, and government agencies all play important roles, and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation is a big part of the work that’s underway. I am grateful for the assistance.”
Supporting equal access to the COVID-19 vaccine builds on Northwestern Mutual’s ongoing neighborhoods-focused support through its Block by Block strategy, including more than eight years of partnerships and $26 million in grants to the Amani, Metcalfe Park and Muskego Way neighborhoods to improve housing, education and safety. Northwestern Mutual, through its Foundation, has provided funding and support to create sustainable change in underserved Milwaukee neighborhoods in alignment with dedicated revitalization plans, which include the priority focus areas of health and wellness.
Throughout the past year, Northwestern Mutual has supported its partner organizations and communities nationwide to provide immediate relief in response to COVID-19, including essential services, critical supplies and PPE. To help neighborhood partners meet essential supply needs during the pandemic, the company provided $45,000 to the Dominican Center, Metcalfe Park Community Bridges and Milwaukee Christian Center.
“The Metcalfe Park and Amani communities have continuously experienced systemic inequities in access to healthcare, facing challenges that have only been heightened by the pandemic,” said Danell Cross, Executive Director, Metcalfe Park Community Bridges. “Prior to the creation of these sites, there were very few accessible options for our residents to receive the vaccine, or even find information about their options. We’re thankful for the collaboration of this group for connecting our residents with access to critical medical care during a time it is needed most.”
Beyond addressing disparities in vaccine access, Northwestern Mutual is committed to fighting racism and discrimination in all forms. In 2020, the company launched a dedicated task force, Sustained Action for Racial Equity, led by Chairman, President, and CEO John Schlifske, which takes a holistic look at actions that will have the greatest impact to drive sustainable change, both within the company and the community.
Northwestern Mutual’s Block by Block strategy is focused on enhancing the Amani, Metcalfe Park and Muskego Way communities with programs dedicated to safe neighborhoods, healthy and thriving youth, strong families and quality education. The company works closely with residents and community leaders in each of these neighborhoods to achieve concentrated positive outcomes.