The solution: a targeted inoculation program for kids so they could attend school, and create a vaccine history and a protocol so they can stay in school. But, the problem: how to pay for it.
“Government money for vaccines simply cannot keep pace with current demand,” said Floating Hospital president Sean Granahan. Children are required to have a series of shots over multiple visits and The Floating Hospital receives limited reimbursement, depending on the child’s age and status, under the guidelines of the well child vaccine and other programs.
Citing these concerns, You and chief medical officer Shani Andre, MD, brought the idea to Granahan. Recognizing the urgency, he began searching for a grant to fill in the gaps.
Enter The New York Community Trust, the community foundation for New York City, Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau counties. The Trust, with an almost-100-year history, uses its permanent endowment made up from the legacies and wills of hundreds of New Yorkers, to ensure the downstate region remains vibrant and healthy place for all.
The Trust often focuses on the big picture of issues facing the region—such as treatment for substance abuse, education, food insecurity, services for children, older adults and the LGBTQ community. And it has a long history of being among the first to respond to a crisis. It was, for example, instrumental in providing emergency funds during the coronavirus pandemic (The Floating Hospital was one such recipient of a $100,000 grant to keep the clinic afloat at the height of the crisis).
“Our competitive grants mostly work toward systemic reforms and sector-wide efforts,” said Irfan Hasan, the Trust’s deputy vice president for grants. “Certainly, facilitating access to care is important but, we try to do it on a systemic level versus just with a single provider.”
When The Floating Hospital approached the Trust, Hasan saw a way to align the Trust’s funding priorities to address a challenge that was unplanned but literally on our front door. Timing was also of the essence, if work was to be done in time for the start of the school year. Granahan got on the phone and Care for the Homeless, a provider of healthcare at New York shelters for more than three decades (and a previous recipient of a Trust grant), stepped up to join The Floating Hospital in the endeavor.