Latter-day Saint Charities to donate $20 million to support UNICEF’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts

Latter-day Saint Charities will donate $20 million to United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund to help ensure safe, fast and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines across the globe, Church leaders announced Friday.

This donation makes Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the single largest private sector donor to date to support UNICEF’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and the vaccines arm of the ACT Accelerator called the COVAX Facility.

The grant also follows a $3 million donation to UNICEF in 2020, which provided water, sanitation and hygiene services in response to COVID-19.

To date, Latter-day Saint Charities has supported 1,050 COVID-19 relief projects in 152 countries.

UNICEF staff examine a box containing the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the COVAX Facility in Accra, Ghana, on February 24, 2021.
UNICEF staff examine a box containing the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the COVAX Facility in Accra, Ghana, on February 24, 2021. Credit: UNICEF

The new grant will support UNICEF’s efforts to procure and supply of 2 billion COVID-19 vaccines to 196 participating COVAX countries and economies by the end of 2021, according to the newsroom. The initial 2 billion doses are intended to protect frontline health care and social workers and educators as well as high risk and vulnerable people. 

The response aims to accelerate the end of the pandemic and minimize disruption to the lives of children.

The donation will also support UNICEF as it works with countries to strengthen supply chains, train health workers, address misinformation, and build trust in vaccines and in the health systems delivering them.

“COVID-19 is the first truly global crisis we have seen in our lives,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director. “No matter where we live, the pandemic affects every person, including children. There has never been a more urgent need to work together.”

Sister Jean B. Bingham, right, and Sharon Eubank of Latter-day Saint Charities, try local fruits picked by refugee women at Imvepi Refugee Settlement in the Arua district of Uganda. This was part of a a UNICEF field visit to Uganda in early 2017.
Sister Jean B. Bingham, right, and Sharon Eubank of Latter-day Saint Charities, try local fruits picked by refugee women at Imvepi Refugee Settlement in the Arua district of Uganda. This was part of a a UNICEF field visit to Uganda in early 2017. Credit: Latter-day Saint Charities

Through the COVAX Facility — co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO and CEPI — UNICEF is leveraging its experience in vaccine procurement and delivery, and its strengths and reach in community engagement, to build demand and acceptance for vaccines.

“We express gratitude to UNICEF’s team and organization. They have done so much to care for children and their families and help them meet basic needs and fulfill their potential,” said Bishop Gérald Caussé, Presiding Bishop of the Church. “As more adults in vulnerable communities are vaccinated, critical health, nutritional and educational services for children in need will be able to resume. We hold hope in our hearts not only of overcoming the pandemic, but of seeing a brighter future for all children and their families.”

Latter-day Saint Charities and UNICEF USA entered into partnership in 2013, working together to support children and their families in the areas of immunization, emergency response, and education and development needs of refugees.

Learn more about UNICEF’s work on the COVID-19 vaccines here, or about UNICEF’s work on immunization here.