Rapid response grantmaking across the Global South to strengthen international vaccine equity ahead of the G20 Summit

Coordinated partnership with the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project and the Entertainment Industry Foundation to raise awareness around the dangers of vaccine hesitancy

Foundation signs onto the People’s Vaccine Alliance advocating for all people to have free access to vaccines

NEW YORK (Wednesday, October 6, 2021) – Today, the Ford Foundation announced a special initiative to further global vaccine access and tackle the structural inequities that continue to hinder equal access to COVID-19 vaccines, particularly in the Global South. This initiative will support the critical work of advocacy organizations calling for urgent interventions by world leaders ahead of the G20 Summit.

Ford’s wide range of commitments include signing onto a global effort to advocate for equal and fair access to vaccines through the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coordinated advocacy campaign to combat vaccine hesitancy and support vaccine access with the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and $16 million in rapid response grants to be deployed across the Global South to strengthen vaccine equity.

“The pandemic has uncovered deep structural inequities in our global systems, and people will continue to needlessly die of this virus until we make lasting, meaningful change. Inaction is not an option,” said Ford Foundation president Darren Walker. “We are proud to join other global funders to shine a light on the systems that are at the root of this crisis, and to make these critical investments in organizations working on the front lines of vaccine equity in the parts of the world that need it most.”

“We have the tools to ensure everyone is protected from COVID-19, but across the world we’re seeing that the most vulnerable people are continuing to suffer. Overcoming this crisis means removing the barriers standing between people and the vital facts and services they need to keep themselves and their communities safe,” said Charlize Theron. “Education is the first step to ending vaccine hesitancy, and CTAOP and I are thrilled to partner with the Ford Foundation to raise awareness around this issue and provide much needed support to the groups, particularly at the community level, who are working to end this pandemic.”

Walker and the Ford Foundation have also signed onto the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a growing movement of health and humanitarian organizations, past and present world leaders, health experts, faith leaders and economists that are advocating for safe and effective vaccines to be produced rapidly at scale and made available for all people, in all countries, free of charge.

Ford’s additional $16 million in grantmaking aims to bolster international, regional, and local organizations working toward immediate interventions and advocacy to achieve a global vaccination rate of 70 percent within the next 12 months, and toward long-term thinking to reimagine global systems of intellectual property and financing to ensure that the world responds more equitably to future global pandemics.

These investments will augment the work of nonprofits in the Global South on the frontlines of international vaccine equity. It includes funding for grantees such as the Africa CDC, Third World Network, Oxfam America for work in Latin America and in the Middle East and North Africa, Frontline AIDS for People’s Vaccine Alliance, and Equal International to support global public investment that are working toward equitable vaccine distribution around the world, and on the frontlines of research and advocacy. These funds will also support civil society and historically marginalized groups to monitor vaccine distribution for equity and inclusion, overcome vaccine hesitancy, and advocate for structural change.

Ford’s funding will focus on supporting advocacy in three main issue areas:

  • Structural changes to ensure equitable vaccine distribution for marginalized groups, including overcoming vaccine hesitancy and fighting discrimination.
  • Raising awareness on the inequities of global intellectual property policies that prevent widespread production of vaccines and other critical medicines, and advocating for a waiver to the World Trade Organization TRIPS Agreement.
  • Rethinking how global public goods like vaccines are financed, shifting from a charity model where wealthy nations control the vast majority of the world’s medicines supply.

“Africa CDC has always called for respectful and action-oriented partnerships and are delighted that Ford Foundation has heeded to its call at a critical time, when Africa CDC needs all the support it can get, not only to deliver on its mandate and successfully implement the adapted joint continental strategy on COVID-19 response but also to work towards ending vaccine inequity on the continent. Only by leveraging each other’s strengths and working together towards a common goal can we put an end to this pandemic,” said Dr Ahmed Ogwell OUMA, Africa CDC Deputy Director.

“The urgency to vaccinate everyone, particularly in vulnerable communities, cannot be underestimated. Multilateral solutions are a vital part of solving global challenges like vaccine access,” said Chris Silbermann, chair of the Entertainment Industry Foundation Board. “Now is the time to come together, raise our voices and take action. That’s why The Entertainment Industry Foundation is proud to join the Ford Foundation in this philanthropic commitment to support the important work of organizations at the forefront of the fight for vaccine equity.”

“The global challenges we face in securing the health of people and our planet as well as addressing the alarming increase in inequality require a bold new approach to international public financing and cooperation. Equal International has for the past 5 years been supporting the co-creation of an alternative approach to global public investment where all contribute, all benefit and all decide. We are thrilled to partner with the Ford Foundation to accelerate the structural changes needed to tackle the enormous challenges that affect us all,” said Anton Ofield-Kerr, Director of Equal International.

“Vaccine apartheid is killing thousands daily. Pharmaceutical monopolies and the failure to share successful vaccine recipes with manufacturers all over the world means billions are facing this killer disease unprotected. This is particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized communities among us. The world needs a People’s Vaccine, not a profit vaccine,”’ said Max Lawson, Chair of the Peoples Vaccine Alliance. We are proud that the Ford Foundation is joining us all in the fight against this appalling vaccine inequality.”

“Global problems require global solidarity to find and implement effective solutions,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS, on behalf of the People’s Vaccine Alliance. “We commend the Ford Foundation for funding advocacy efforts to increase access to vaccines in the global South so that we can achieve our common goal of vaccine equity. In addition, I am so delighted that Ford Foundation President Darren Walker is joining over 180 eminent world leaders and experts advocating for a People’s Vaccine that is available to everyone everywhere.”

About the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project

CTAOP advances and invests in the health, education, safety, and community support of young people living in Southern Africa to create a more equitable future for all. CTAOP’s approach supports community-based organizations (Program Partners) by providing funding, strengthening capacity, and bringing awareness to their work. This helps ensure the youth they serve are on a path to reaching their full potential and have the knowledge, tools, and skills to keep themselves healthy and safe. In addition, CTAOP’s Youth Leaders Scholarship program provides young leaders in South Africa with full scholarships for their tertiary journey. CTAOP was created in 2007 by actor and United Nations Messenger of Peace, Charlize Theron, with the hope of making a difference for youth in her home country of South Africa. Although the geographic scope of CTAOP is sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa has remained the primary area of focus with the highest number of people living with HIV in the world. To learn more visit www.charlizeafricaoutreach.org and follow @ctaop

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The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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