RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced the first three organizations that will receive money from the city’s Health Equity Fund on Thursday, June 9.

This initial round of grants will award $230,000 toward organizations that help combat racial injustice and healthcare disparities in the community. Mayor Stoney explained why he feels this approach to tackling healthcare is crucial.

“The communities that have suffered most in the last 2 years, and those in most need of services, are our economically distressed communities and communities of color,” Stoney said at a press conference in the Whitcomb Court Community Garden Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Levar Stoney speaks at the press conference on June 9 in the Whitcomb Court Community Garden. Credit: Sierra Krug / 8News

Crossover Healthcare Ministry is set to receive $50,000 to be put toward helping improve access to bilingual medical assistance. Another recipient — Nolef Turns — will get $90,000 to provide transitional and crisis housing for formerly incarcerated individuals. Richmond Behavioral Health Authority, the final organization to receive a grant in this round, hopes to provide clinical mental health assistance to communities in need.

Ruth Morrison with the Richmond-Henrico Health District said it’s important to listen to the community when allocating these funds. “In public health we’ve been saying the pandemic isn’t over but it’s shifting, so we need to shift with it,” she said.