Within days of California’s shelter-in-place order, philanthropy leadership across Sutter Health began working on releasing more than $2.5 million in greatest need funds to local affiliates to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic. This immediate infusion of cash, directly to hospitals and clinics, is part of philanthropy’s rapid-response strategy to support our 14,000 physicians and 53,000 employees as they work tirelessly to keep our communities safe and healthy.
“Past contributions to greatest need at our local hospitals and clinics have allowed local leaders to direct resources where needed most, giving our healthcare workers the flexibility to respond to COVID-19 challenges as they arise,” says Raya Elias-Petros, vice president of philanthropy, Sutter Health Bay Area. “Activating this philanthropic partnership is exactly the kind of impact our teams can provide during challenging times.”
Across Sutter Health, emergency management teams have rapidly implemented changes to optimize patient care while minimizing exposure to the virus. Response efforts include expanding virtual visits, opening drive-through respiratory clinics, sourcing and preserving personal protective equipment and creating online resources with up-to-date information.
Over the last few months, many more donors have asked how they can help, prompting philanthropy to activate a COVID-19 Relief Fund. “We are moved by the many thoughtful donors who’ve reached out to offer assistance,” says Elizabeth Vilardo, M.D., CEO of Sutter Bay Medical Foundation. “Medical supply donations and cash gifts are greatly appreciated and help us move more quickly to enhance care. We hope more community members will consider giving to our COVID-19 Relief Fund.”
Philanthropy will be especially important as our response plans evolve to target the ever-changing pandemic. “Sutter Health has a long history of responding to urgent public health challenges, including infectious diseases,” says Sarah Krevans, president and CEO of Sutter Health. “Donor support enhances our access to resources that keep staff and patients safe through this challenge.”