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Rhode Island launches incentive program to benefit charities

July 6, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The more people in Rhode Island who get vaccinated against COVID-19, the more charities in the state stand to benefit under a program announced Tuesday by Gov. Daniel McKee.

Under the COVID-19 Vaccination Incentive Fund, for every 5,000 additional people who get a first dose of a vaccine, an increasing amount of money will be granted to nonprofits in the state.

It starts with $100,000 after the first 5,000 shots, up to $200,000 for the fifth round of 5,000 shots, officials said.

Other states have vaccine incentive programs, but they usually benefit individuals in the form of cash prizes or scholarships, not nonprofits.

The $750,000 program is funded by $500,000 from the state and $250,000 from the Rhode Island Foundation.

“We did intentional research and reflection to create a program that celebrates the spirit of Rhode Island, sustains the importance of getting all Rhode Islanders vaccinated over time, and provides support back to the organizations that are getting our most vulnerable neighbors through the pandemic,” the Democratic governor said in a statement.

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Eligible nonprofits based in the state can apply starting immediately through the Rhode Island Foundation’s website. Applications will be accepted through July 30.

Eligible organizations must provide services or direct assistance in response to the pandemic.

Nearly 637,000 people have already been fully vaccinated in Rhode Island, according to the state Department of Health, and more than 70% of the state’s eligible adult population is fully vaccinated.

“Rhode Island’s successful vaccination efforts to date are a key reason for our state’s strong reemergence from the pandemic,” said state Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said. “This effort will help us build upon our positive momentum.”

The Rhode Island Foundation staff will review and determine whether applicant organizations meet the eligibility requirements of the program. Grant recipients will be chosen at random.