Vax Challenge program

A number of RI nonprofits have been helping the local community throughout the pandemic, working within their limited budgets while being ineligible for federal COVID-19 relief funding. There is a new incentive program recently announced by Governor McKee, the R.I. Department of Health and the Rhode Island Foundation that recognizes the efforts of these nonprofit organizations.

The program has $750,000 in funds to award to eligible nonprofits over the course of five rounds, awarding $10,000 per grant each round. The goal is to benefit from nonprofits’ community connections to help boost vaccination rates across the state. Rounds will be awarded via lottery every time 5,000 first vaccine doses are administered across Rhode Island, as reported by the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Rhode Island’s approach differs from Massachusetts, choosing to support local nonprofit organizations that have aided neighborhoods during the pandemic versus incentivizing individuals who get vaccinated through prize money drawings.


  • Applicants must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Rhode Island, or have a fiscal sponsor/agent.
  • Nonprofits must have had an annual operating budget no greater than $3 million in 2020.
  • Applicants must provide services or direct assistance in response to COVID-19’s impact on individuals or communities

Deadlines and How to Apply

Applications will be accepted through July 30, 2021. However, applications must be submitted by July 13, 2021 through the Rhode Island Foundation portal to be considered for the first round of grants. Click [here] to apply.

Applications should include the following information: 1) organization information; 2) organization budget; and 3) a 501(c)(3) IRS determination letter if not already on file at the RI Foundation.

Although a number of facilities administering vaccines have closed, vaccinations are still available at local pharmacies, the state-run Sockanosset Road location in Cranston and at various clinics, such as the Rhode Island Free Clinic.

For more information, please visit Office of the Governor or the Rhode Island Foundation.


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