The Greater Los Angeles community has joined together to support health care professionals at UCLA’s four hospitals and 180 clinics throughout Southern California, as they treat patients and families affected by COVID-19.
To date, UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have received more than $3 million from two anonymous donors, one of whom gave the lead gift toward the purchase of 35 new ventilators to treat the most serious cases of COVID-19. As of May 1, additional cash donations have brought the total COVID-19 philanthropy to more than $14 million. As the global pandemic continues, gifts received after U Magazine’s press date will be highlighted in the next issue.
While the city sheltered in place, UCLA physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and staff delivered the exceptional care that has earned UCLA Health its distinction as a world-class health care provider. Across the campus, collaborations led to innovations to meet overwhelming demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), such as the creation of face shields using 3D printing. Shirley and Walter Wang donated rolls of rigid plastic sheeting that the university will use to make as many as 44,500 reusable face shields for UCLA Health clinicians on the frontline of the COVID-19 response. Shirley is a UCLA alumna, UCLA Foundation director and its past chair; Walter is chairman and CEO of JM Eagle Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of plastic and PVC pipe.
Children, too, stepped forward to make a contribution toward meeting this challenge. A group of students collected 750 surgical masks that they delivered to at a UCLA Health collection center in Van Nuys. Their donation came with a note written by an eighth grader: “Thank you so much for all your effort during this pandemic. I cannot possibly imagine what you’re going through, and I am so grateful for all of it.”
Concurrently, UCLA scientists ramped up research to develop an effective way to test for COVID-19. Gifts also provided resources to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA for research to determine the pathogenesis of COVID-19 and pathways to overcome it. One anonymous donor funded a study on immune response in survivors in the hope of expediting an effective treatment or cure.
Goldman Sachs made an unsolicited donation of 25,000 surgical masks and 3,000 N95 respirators (PPEs that cover the nose and mouth and reduce the wearer’s exposure to at least 95 percent of small particle aerosols and large droplets). Additional inspired philanthropists at every level stepped forward to provide vital funds and equipment to support health care professionals on the frontline of patient care. The Los Angeles Unified School District donated 100,000 N95 masks, and Tesla, Inc., donated tens of thousands of N95 masks. In addition, the Getty Center and Getty Villa donated all of the available PPE (goggles, gloves, masks) from their art restoration labs.
Other contributions include $1 million toward equipment from an anonymous donor; $1 million, in an effort led by a UCLA faculty member, to support patient care; and $250,000 from the Los Angeles Lakers toward PPE and needed equipment.
In response to the multiple requests for ways to help, UCLA created two funds to channel philanthropy to the most urgent needs of UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA: the COVID-19 Patient Care and Healthcare Provider Protection fund and the COVID-19 Coronavirus Research and Education fund.
Dr. Owen Witte, director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, and his wife Jami, a research specialist in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics at UCLA, rapidly responded to the need and gave a gift of more than $500,000 to the Covid-19 Patient Care and Healthcare Provider Protection fund, saying, “It was prompted by both my wife and me being members of the UCLA community for over 40 years and wanting to support our health center at a time of incredible need.”
In response to multiple offers to provide food for frontline staff, UCLA established the #TeamLA: UCLA Health Gift Card Drive to support the well-being of health care workers. Donations to this drive enable UCLA Health to purchase $25 gift or gas cards or add to BruinCards that can be used at local stores and restaurants to ease the burden on health care providers.
A $200,000 donation was made to help offset the cost of cafeteria meals for staff working in the hospitals. In addition, Help Feed the Frontline Fighting COVID-19 in Los Angeles, in partnership with World Central Kitchen, began providing 800 meals per day, three times a week, divided equally between UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
For more information, contact Ellen Haddigan-Durgun at: 310-206-3878
To make a donation of PPE, email: COVID19PPESUPPORT@mednet.ucla.edu