press Release

CORE Awarded $1 Million Grant from Center for Disaster Philanthropy to Provide COVID-19 Vaccinations to Marginalized Communities

May, 06 2021

Funding will support CORE’s efforts to increase direct access to COVID-19 vaccines to marginalized and BIPOC communities that lack basic health services; 

CORE to deploy resources to static and mobile vaccination sites in eight 

LOS ANGELES – May 6, 2021 – Today, CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) announced that it was awarded a $1 million grant from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) to support CORE’s ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts. The funding will allow CORE to provide direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations to marginalized communities that lack basic health services, rank highest on the CDC’s social vulnerability index, and/or are hotspots experiencing high COVID-19 positivity rates.


The Center for Disaster Philanthropy specifically designated this $1 million grant for three major activities:


  • Deploy Technical and Operational Support to static and mobile vaccination sites in eight markets with large percentages of unvaccinated BIPOC residents

  • Develop and tailor education and outreach materials and/or leverage materials from partners, to connect beneficiaries to critical services and commodities quickly (i.e., food, water, shelter, other emergency needs)


  • Development of vaccine advocacy and awareness materials including a Vaccine Hesitancy Communications Video Vignette that will be a powerful tool in CORE’s vaccine hesitancy arsenal


“Disaster relief moves incredibly quickly, and often favors those who have access to cars, computers, paid time off, and childcare. Our goal is to bridge the gap and make getting vaccinated easy for everyone else – mainly BIPOC individuals, many of whom have performed heroic and “essential” work throughout this pandemic,” said CORE Co-founder and CEO Ann Lee. “This grant will allow us to continue our effort to reach those who are most in need, close the equity gap in vaccinations, and get one step further to reaching herd immunity in the U.S.” 

“Vaccines are a critical tool in the arsenal against the spread of COVID-19,” said Patricia McIlreavy, president and CEO of CDP. “We are proud to support CORE’s community-based work making vaccines more accessible and bringing accurate information about these life-saving measures to Black and other communities of color who remain disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”  


About CORE’s COVID-19 Relief Efforts:

CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) is committed to an integrated approach for the COVID-19 relief effort across the United States. The emergency relief nonprofit has been operating free COVID-19 testing sites across the United States since March 2020, with a focus on serving vulnerable and underserved communities, targeting low-income groups, communities of color, first responders, and essential workers. In 2021, the organization is working to support equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the communities it serves. Co-founded by Sean Penn and Ann Lee, CORE is committed to supporting local governance with a community-centric approach and has applied this model to emergency relief efforts in Haiti, The Bahamas, and the United States. 



  • Over 1.3 million vaccines have been administered at CORE sites since December 2020. 

  • A key goal is ensuring equitable distribution of the vaccine to high-risk, low-income, and communities of color. 


  • Los Angeles

    • CORE is working in partnership withLAFD, LA County, City of LA and medical partners at USC School of Pharmacy, Curative, and Carbon Health to support vaccination operations 

      • 1 mass vax site at Dodger Stadium 

      • 8 PODs (Points of Dispensing) in Los Angeles 

      • 10 mobile units 

    • CORE has more than 750 staff and volunteers dedicated to operating the vaccination sites across Los Angeles. CORE hires locally from the community, and staff are paid hourly. 

    • As of May 3, CORE has administered: 

      • Over 1.1 million doses in Los Angeles

      • More than 422,000 doses at Dodger Stadium 


  • Georgia

    • CORE is working closely with the Georgia Department of Public Health, and medical partner Curogram to exclusively provide vaccines across the state through mobile vaccination units.

      • 15 mobile units launched so far as program gets underway

    • CORE is working closely with Fulton County, Fulton County Board of Health, Sandy Springs Fire Department, and medical partner Curogram to support vaccination operations 

      • 1 mass vax site at Mercedes-Benz Stadium 

      • 2 PODs (Points of Dispensing) in Atlanta 

    • As of May 3, CORE has administered over 137,000 doses across Georgia 


  • Chicago

    • CORE is working closely with City of Chicago and medical partner Howard Brown to support vaccination operations 

      • 3 PODs (Points of Dispensing) in Chicago 

    • As of May 3, CORE has administered over 14,000 doses in Chicago 



  • Over 5.1 million tests have been administered at CORE testing sites since March 30, 2020, in Los Angeles, Northern California, Georgia, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington D.C., and North Carolina.


About CORE

CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) is a crisis relief nonprofit organization co-founded by Sean Penn and Ann Lee that is dedicated to saving lives and strengthening communities affected by or vulnerable to crisis. Within hours of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Penn mobilized a powerful network to take immediate action. More than 11 years later, CORE continues to lead sustainable programs focused on four pillars: emergency relief, disaster preparedness, environmental resilience, and community building. The organization has expanded beyond Haiti to support communities in The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, the United States, and Latin America. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, CORE has been operating free testing sites across the U.S. alongside local partners, providing essential resources and contact tracing services as well as part of its integrated approach to combat the pandemic. In 2021, CORE is working with its partners in the U.S. and internationally to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, and has published a manual to encourage equity-focused community-based vaccination operations.

More information: www.coreresponse.org/covid-19 and follow CORE on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.