This content was originally published on Global Chairman + CEO AnnaMaria DeSalva’s LinkedIn here.
As a lifelong New Yorker now leading a global company based in New York, I can tell you that this city is great because of its people. We bring talent and passion to every industry that matters here. We tough it out in tough times because we care for each other. And in a crisis, we come together. Now, at the epicenter of a global pandemic, New Yorkers are at it again, showing what grit and courage and compassion can do. I’m thinking especially, and most poignantly, of the New Yorkers on the front line.
That’s why it wasn’t hard to determine where to focus our 2020 charitable giving through the John W. Hill Foundation of Hill+Knowlton Strategies. At H+K, we wanted to try to protect New York City’s healthcare workers. Whatever we had to give, we wanted to give to them. As we rushed to find the best way to make a difference, we learned a few things I wanted to share more broadly – about where help is needed most, and some of the organizations best suited to deliver it.
- While PPE is an urgent need, supply chains are fortunately beginning to open up.
- The most acute need for healthcare workers and for the vulnerable right at this moment is easy to overlook, yet it couldn’t be more fundamental: food.
- Healthcare workers at the hardest-hit hospitals such as Bellevue and Elmhurst are working shift after shift and often can’t even go home to eat or sleep. The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is focused on delivering prepackaged meals to the healthcare workers who are on the front lines fighting this crisis.
- An insidious effect of this pandemic is its impact on the most defenseless among us. The elderly and medically vulnerable cannot and should not go outside to buy groceries. Citymeals on Wheels and God’s Love We Deliver are the gold standard for helping these very vulnerable people. Both are in overdrive, and they need our help.
- The Coalition for the Homeless has its own fund to help get meals and other essential items to people living on the street, and to find them shelter.
For those who want to focus beyond food, there are many worthy options:
- The Governor’s New York State COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund buys equipment and supplies for healthcare workers and public health officials and supports scientific research related to COVID-19.
- The Greater New York Hospital Association’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund supports financially distressed hospitals who are overrun by COVID-19.
- New York City Fire Department Foundation purchases PPE and provides alternative housing for workers who are not able to go home due to risk of infection.
- The New York City Police Foundation is raising money to protect New York police officers from infection while they keep us safe.
- The New York City Fund for Public Schools is raising money to get equipment to public school students and teachers to support distance learning.
- And for those wanting to support the more rapid and widespread deployment of PPE, Americares and Direct Relief are often at the head of the line based on the volume they handle.
New Yorkers, and the people who love us, have big hearts – and we like to get things done. We hope this summary is helpful to anyone considering gifts, of any size. It’s a short list for big impact.
And if you are looking for another way to support the healthcare workers who are our last defense against this pandemic, keep an eye on your local skyline and your social channels tonight. More than 300 landmark buildings and venues in New York and across the United States will turn blue in support of healthcare and other essential workers. #LightItBlue is an extension of a UK campaign H+K supported a few short weeks ago. Tonight, it’s our turn to light the way.
This evening has an additional meaning for many who are celebrating Passover or preparing for Easter – two celebrations of hope and transformation. Usually, this is a holiday weekend that brings us physically and joyously together. What is not possible this year will soon be again. But let’s not allow this moment, whatever difficulty it presents, stop us from recognizing the good we can take from it. This holiday weekend, we are acutely aware of our common humanity. That’s a powerful place from which to renew.
Be well. Stay strong.