East Flatbush nonprofit East Flatbush Village is getting $20,000 from the city for referring almost 500 neighbors to get a COVID-19 vaccine at a city-run site.

The award is part of the citys Vaccine Referral Bonus program, which offers $100 to the organization that refers someone to a city-run vaccination site and also to the person getting the vaccination. When a person arrives at a city-run site, they are asked if they were referred by anyone and that detail is recorded for the program.

The nonprofit has referred 491 people to get a vaccine since June, making it eligible for the programs maximum $20,000 reward, Brooklyn Paper reports.

Executive director Eric Waterman told Brooklyn Paper the organization wasnt paying close attention to the number of people it had signed up in order to get the city incentive, rather it was working to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

Waterman said having the sign ups at the organizations other events gave people who might have been hesitant to get the vaccine a sense of comfort and safety.

 Our vaccination success has come solely on the fact that we have been doing work in all those other areas, Waterman said. [They] allowed us to be in spaces where people trust that when we say this is an opportunity to, of course, be safe, make sure your families are safe, and also get access to something that may be not as accessible to you.

The $20,000, which will be given to the nonprofit at the end of the program, would go a long way toward funding initiatives and freeing up dollars that otherwise would have gone towards wages, rent, utilities, or other administrative expenses, Waterman said.

It means we can have more pop-up events, it means we can get more resources for back-to-school giveaways.

Maybe turkey giveaways, or a Halloween harvest where we do activities for the kids, holiday giveaways things of that nature.

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