COVID-19: Frontline Families Fund

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Day 248: Stay Safe Minnesota

A news Frontline Families Fund is established by the Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation and University of Minnesota to help pay expenses incurred by the health care workers killed by COVID-19.

A new fund dubbed as Frontline Families Fund has been started in Minnesota on Monday Nov 16, by the Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation and University of Minnesota epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, to help pay funeral costs and other expenses or college scholarships for children of the health care workers.

According to Jeremy Wells, senior vice president of philanthropic services of the Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation, the new fund aims to ‘raise millions of dollars for scholarships for family members of medical workers who lost their lives, as well as two phases of direct grant giving’.

These people put their lives on the line, day after day after day, into harm’s way. They are the real heroes of this entire pandemic response. We need hope right now. [..] Just as they were there to support us and care for us during this pandemic. In many cases, they’ve left behind loved ones, in many cases in dire financial states, and it’s our job as a society to thank them, to be there for them.

Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and CIDRAP director (source: Star Tribune & MPR News)

A Kaiser Health News reportedly found that about 1,400 health care workers around the country have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

“This is a national effort but so much of it started right here in Minnesota, and we have the opportunity to again demonstrate generosity here in Minnesota that can really cascade across the country and help families. [..] We want to raise more money than these organizations have been able to raise. We want to create more awareness. These families need our help.”

Jeremy Wells, senior vice president of philanthropic servicesthe St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation (source: Star Tribune)

According to the Star Tribune, the new fund which focuses on providing scholarships and grants to people of color and those with the greatest socioeconomic needs, has not determined the amount of college scholarships yet but are eligible for a second grant of up to $60,000.

“A University of Minnesota study this year found that Black people account for 25% of COVID-19 hospitalizations but 7% of the state’s population, while Hispanic people make up 16% of hospitalizations and 6% of the population.”

Jeremy Wells reportedly acknowledged that there are other similar funds established by many hospitals, corporations or other foundations to help US health care workers but this new fund has a national reach and zeroed in on racial inequities.

“We are now in the most dangerous public health moment in this country since 1918. And it really is a situation where health care workers are the ultimate shock absorber for so many medical, sociologic and economic issues,” said Michel Osterholm.

Coronavirus Pandemic Watch

According to the MDH latest tally (as of Nov 30, 11 a.m.) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 318,763 (out of 4,262,806 tested) with 3,593 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins database (as of Nov 30, 2:25 p.m.) there are 13,492,101 confirmed covid19 infection with 267,600 deaths. Globally the covid19 virus has infected 63,089,305 with 1,465,067 deaths.