Brief: Amplifying Impact through Collaborative Partnerships to Stem COVID

Explore how PHI’s Together Toward Health pursued partnerships and collaborative efforts to amplify its ability to support CBOs in their ongoing efforts to increase equity in communities across the state of California, while substantially increasing equitable access to COVID vaccines, testing, and other resources.

  • Together Toward Health
    Harder+Company Community Research
group of people holding sign that sauys "I got my COVID-19 vaccine #TogetherTowardHealth"

PHI’s Together Toward Health (TTH) is a statewide initiative that supports over 500 community-based organizations (CBOs) that reduce the spread of COVID-19 by strengthening education, testing, and vaccination access across California’s most impacted communities.

The Together Toward Health initiative supported the collaboration of its funded CBOs with a variety of partners who worked together to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This brief describes the nature of those partnerships and the impact they had on communities. This report brief refers to relationships and collaboration that occurred between formal and informal contributors to the TTH initiative, including funded CBOs, local health departments (LHDs), TTH staff, TTH funders, state agencies, and other organizations in the community such as faith-based groups and more.

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With TTH, we were able to collaborate with organizations that we never would have reached out to… These are organizations that we never would have partnered with had it not been for TTH. Now, they know who to call if they have families that they're not sure what dialect they speak and we can assist them with that and then vice versa. Community-based organization
Perhaps the most valuable of lessons is the impact the organization can have when working together to leverage resources and services. [We] made very strong partnerships through the TTH collective and even formed a permanent collaborative. Our collective work will continue. Community-based organization
[Thanks to the TTH Initiative,] we were really able to put the funds into the community in a way that was data-driven but also really grassroots. Local health department
This grant has been transformational not only for our agency and the relationships that we built internally but also the community relationships that we built. But it's also really been a step towards us helping to build capacity in our region. Community-based organization
The COVID-19 community workgroups … allowed collaboration to take place in a quick and efficient manner. The network we started during the TTH grant will continue, and because of these groups there is a wider reach, greater potential for community engagement around the state, and more resources in total for [us] to offer our American Indian/Alaska Native community here in California. Community-based organization
I feel like that's another really beautiful impact: that we are a multiracial diverse group of organizations that have banded together to really make an impact in stopping and slowing the spread of COVID in very marginalized communities. Community-based organization
We are now poised to morph into a health equity alliance to tackle other health initiatives, whether that be chronic disease, whether that be emergency response, or whether that be language justice. Local health department

TTH is administered by Public Health Institute (PHI) and funded by over 20 philanthropic organizations. PHI implements TTH by providing technical assistance, support, and professional development opportunities to initiative-funded community-based organizations. Since its development in 2020, TTH has disbursed over $33 million via 251 awards to 548 community-based organizations including churches, health centers, community centers, coalitions, and others. Funded organizations range from recently-formed grassroots organizations to well-established community-based organizations.

Building Constellations of Partnerships Across California

By fostering partnership and collaboration, TTH increased the impact of CBOs’ ongoing efforts to increase equity in communities across the state of California, while substantially increasing equitable access to vaccines, testing, and other resources. The impact of these partnerships highlights the importance of collaboration and networking in addressing public health crises in a way that is equitable and responsive to community needs.

Impacts of Partnerships: Amplifying TTH’s Success

The connections that funded CBOs were able to make with each other and with other organizations helped them amplify the success they achieved in their work with the TTH initiative. If CBOs, LHDs, and other groups had continued working in silos, as they had done in the past, they would have missed out on critical shared learning to address common challenges and barriers.

By partnering with other groups, CBOs were able to leverage resources to increase communities’ access to COVID-19 information, testing, and vaccines. Partnerships resulted in clear impacts for communities, such as:

TTH Impact on communities infographic


Lasting Impact: Partnership Success Beyond TTH Funding

Collaboration between different CBOs, as well as between LHDs and CBOs, is key to addressing public health crises in a way that is equitable and responsive to community needs. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented public health challenge and is an ongoing need. Strong, numerous, relationship based partnerships are a key ingredient for continuing to support communities during this pandemic and will be key in future public health challenges as well.

screenshot of Amarjit

“We opened the window for the wider community, rather than just keeping the funding for the Sikh community. We have about 25 vaccine clinics. We partner with health centers, hospitals wellness centers, pharmacies, churches and other nonprofit organizations,” said Amarjit Singh, The Sikh Centre, Together Toward Health Grantee.

CBO workers

Together Toward Health: Supporting Communities Through COVID-19 and Beyond

Thanks to Together Toward Health funding and support, CBO grantees have coordinated access to get thousands of California farmworkers vaccinated, conducted outreach to elders about vaccine access and appointments, hosted online live Q&A sessions, trained outreach workers and system navigators, and more. Guided by equity, Together Toward Health is supporting education, awareness and outreach to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, increase vaccine awareness and uptake, and provide workforce development strategies to strengthen economic resilience.

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Originally published by Together Toward Health

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