When the coronavirus reached Santa Clara County, concerned community members immediately began asking how they could support El Camino Health. On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, El Camino Health Foundation staff began working from home and on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, we received the first gift to the swiftly launched El Camino Health COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. We heard from longtime donors and strangers, from organizations and individuals, from adults and children. Together our community donated more than $2.6 million in monetary gifts and an estimated $100,000 of in-kind donations – everything from personal protective equipment to meals for front line staff. More than half of the donations came from individuals who contributed to us for the very first time. Many were accompanied by messages of encouragement and gratitude.
“Thank you for working tirelessly to protect us. Stay healthy,” one donor wrote. “Thank you for fighting the virus! Please accept the donation from a Chinese family. The virus break out first in China but it is the enemy to the human being,” penned another. “United we stand. Thanks to everyone working in the hospital, standing at the front line to help us fight the virus. Take care and stay safe,” echoed a third. “You are working in the front line to protect us and we will stay home to help. Be safe! Thank you,” added another.
Members of the foundation board of directors swung into action, donating their own gifts, soliciting matching donations, and making thank you calls. Foundation President Andrew Cope and a handful of staff members took turns manning the office a few hours each week to process mail, accept the material gifts, and coordinate their distribution to hospital departments.
The foundation, in consultation with our hospitals’ executive leadership team, is strategically allocating the funds received, prioritizing the areas of more urgent need. Thus far the monies have been used to cover the unanticipated and burdensome costs of:
- Staffing the COVID-19 command center to coordinate all aspects of the coronavirus response.
- Preparations, including erecting triage tents outside both emergency departments.
- Third party medical staffing.
- Purchase of personal protective equipment.
- Child care at the YMCA for the children of El Camino Health employees.
- Financial assistance for employees experiencing significant hardship due to the virus.
- Thank you gift of vests for all El Camino Health employees.
“Support from our community has made an enormous difference, helping us through the immediate crisis and as we prepare for the future,” says El Camino Health CEO Dan Woods. “Our staff has worked tirelessly. Every gift and every message of hope inspires us.”