Mayor Levar Stoney, Councilmember Ann-Frances Lambert, and the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts announced four new partners and over a quarter of a million dollars of new funding for the Richmond Health Equity Fund on Monday, Jan. 22.
The new partnerships were announced in the basement of Greater Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Gilpin. A number of Richmond community members, including councilmember Katherine Jordan, were in attendance.
The Health Equity Fund is a program seeking to address systemic racial healthcare disparities at the local level. The city has invested $1.2 million to date. This year’s partner organizations will receive a total of $351,000.
The four organizations receiving funds this year are Gateway Community Health, the Virginia Prison Birth Project, Daily Planet Health Services, and Urban Baby Beginnings. Representatives from all four organizations were present to answer questions from the community.
Healthcare disparities are a nationwide struggle, but Stoney said that Richmond is throwing the “entire kitchen sink” at the issue.
The mayor pointed to statistics showing that, due to systemic inequities in healthcare and food systems, Black people face illness at a significantly higher rate. The COVID-19 mortality rate among Black people was significantly higher than that of their white counterparts.
Lambert said that being elected at the height of the pandemic gave her a special perspective on the healthcare needs of the Richmond community. Since then, improving access to healthcare has been a top priority.
“We’re investing in the long haul,” she said.