Since its inception nearly three decades ago, this magazine has always paid special editorial attention to helping hospitals, health charities, volunteer groups and other non-profit organizations in our region raise the crucial funds they need to operate. This giving spirit helps shape who we are as a community, one of the most philanthropic regions in the country. Today, these organizations are threatened as they struggle to cope with a rapidly evolving pandemic which has so far killed more than 21,000 Americans — seven times the number of lives lost on 9/11… and the number is still climbing daily.
We at Washington Life pay tribute to the frontline workers—the doctors, nurses, caregivers, lab technicians and others carrying out vital roles who are still reporting for work, day after day, to face overflowing emergency rooms, and, in too many locations, dwindling supplies, and we urge researchers and scientists to find a vaccine that would stop COVID-19 in its deadly tracks.
Medical workers only have to look beyond the U.S., to Italy or perhaps to Spain, for a dark view of the dangers they face. In Italy, more than 65 doctors and nurses have died treating patients with the disease.
Closer to home, doctors and nurses are confronting the danger of carrying the virus home to their loved ones. In an effort to avoid this, many are isolating themselves from their families. These are the real heroes of what has quickly become the worst of times, and we are in awe of their courage and resolve.
We also salute those who are helping others, delivering meals and needed prescription drugs, holding video classes from their basements, making face masks and other personal protective equipment in their living rooms—and keeping food markets open so that the rest of us don’t go without food and essential supplies.
And kudos to the management of Monumental Sports and Entertainment for keeping Capital Arena’s part-time employees including ticket takers, greeters, and ushers on the payroll despite the canceled sports program, and the many other team owners around the country who did the same.
And also a round of applause for the many Washingtonians who are obeying the ordinance to isolate themselves at a time of high holidays and family celebrations for Christians, Jews, Moslems and Zoroastrians. Many endure loneliness, virtually cut off from human contact; but they, too, are battling the virus by reducing its potential spread.
To those who have started novels and memoirs we offer this encouragement: scholars maintain that Shakespeare wrote “King Lear” while quarantined during one of London’s many outbreaks of the plague. And, perhaps we can all take comfort from the words of Queen Elizabeth II, in a rare speech to the British people that was an object lesson in how real leaders communicate in times of crisis.
Hitting on the verge of the spring gala season, the coronavirus crisis caused havoc in the annual effort
to raise funds for major charities and institutions in Washington and elsewhere. In 2019, the nation’s 30 largest large-scale fundraising events raised $1.4 billion in donations. In Washington, for example, the annual Catholic Charities gala in April 2019 raised $2.1 million.
A rash of cancellations as the virus, somewhat belatedly was acknowledged as a real threat in the U.S., abruptly shut off that periodic infusion of cash needed to support medical research and a wide range of social programs.
Elsewhere in this issue, some of those faced with making the hard decisions discuss the full impact of the pandemic. We also add a list of local organizations we think merit your attention. But as they explore other ways of reaching an isolated public (virtual galas, etc.) we encourage you not to allow philanthropy to become a casualty of the current crisis. If this is a war, the weapons we need are solidarity and compassion; 2020 must not be the year in which giving dies.
Giving a helping hand during the crisis
This is a critical time for hospitals and many non-profit organizations in our region. They need your support. At this unprecedented historical juncture, area hospitals in particular are striving their hardest to meet patients’ substantial medical needs while also pushing aggressively to better understand the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it functions. Also, included below are other arts and cultural organizations who have had to cancel fundraising events that provide a substantial portion of their annual budgets and deserve our continued support at this time. Be sure to share your gratitude and give generously.
Caregivers & Hospitals
American Red Cross has launched the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Program. The Red Cross is seeking individuals fully recovered from COVID-19 who may be able to donate plasma to help current patients fighting the disease. Additionally, the organization is addressing a national blood shortage – call 1-800-RED-CROSS to find a local blood donation site near you. After canceling the high-grossing Red Cross Ball in Palm Beach, donations are especially welcome. redcross.org
Capital Caring is helping ill seniors get the care they need at home through Capital Caring’s new Primary Care at Home service , a service providing 24/7 phone access to a physician or nurse practitioner or urgent home visits when needed. capitalcaring.org
Children’s National Hospital has established the COVID-19 Emergency Action Fund to protect patients, provide testing kits, deliver telemedicine options and support providers. It’s also providing drive up COVID-19 testing for pediatric patients who have a physician’s referral. With the cancellation of their annual ball, monetary donations are especially welcome. childrensnational.org/giving
Direct Relief is equipping frontline workers with important medical resources worldwide, delivering protective masks, isolation gowns and other protective gear to health care organizations. directrelief.org
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center is raising funds to provide additional resources for treating cancer patients who are more susceptible to contracting the virus. With the cancellation of their annual Women & Wine event, monetary donations are especially welcome. lombardi.georgetown.edu
Georgetown MedStar Health is raising funds for the Associate Emergency Support Fund, supporting emergency and crisis situations that its non-management associates may be facing. Gifts directed to one or more of its hospitals, services or facilities support that team’s COVID-19 Critical Needs Fund, helping to offset unanticipated expenses related to the pandemic. medstargeorgetown.org
Inova Health Foundation has created an Emergency Preparedness Fund, which helps the Fairfax-based health system meet their patients’ urgent needs. All donations will be matched up to $100,000. foundation.inova.org
Sibley Memorial Hospital is raising funds to help advance knowledge of COVID-19 through more broad testing, treating patients currently afflicted, designing more effective therapies for those who will become sick, and developing a successful vaccine. With the cancellation of their annual gala, monetary donations are especially welcome. hopkinsmedicine.org/sibley-memorial-hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is continuing to provide lifesaving treatments at no cost to patients. stjude.org
Bread for the City is continuing to distribute food and provide vital healthcare, COVID-19 testing, and social services to the community. breadforthecity.org/donation/covid19fund
Catholic Charities which canceled its April gala, has set up multiple drives, supporting Cup of Joe, St. Maria’s Meals programs and Central Union Mission, an emergency shelter in the District which provides food, shelter and clothing to 4,000 people each month. catholiccharitiesdc. org/covid19-urgent-need
DC CENTRAL KITCHEN is ramping up efforts to provide meals across the hard hit areas in the city and beyond. dccentralkitchen.org
Hope for Henry supports nurses, doctors and parents caring for kids and families affected by COVID-19. hopeforhenry.org
No Kid Hungry is using its platform through Share Our Strength to solve growing issues of hunger among children out of school. nokidhungry.org
Feed the Fight was recently launched to support local restaurants and frontline healthcare workers. feedthefight.org
Hook Hall is providing care kits and family meals for workers who have been laid off, supporting them in collaboration with the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. hookhall.com/helps
Martha’s Table is feeding schoolchildren during the COVID-19 outbreak and providing several other resources. marthastable.org
Meals on Wheels is continuing to feed the country’s most vulnerable seniors who are at the greatest risk during COVID-19. mealsonwheelsamerica.org
Salvation Army is providing financial assistance for food, rent or utilities for struggling families and the homeless during the crisis. In the District, it’s seen a 15% increase
in need for its Grate Patrol, a mobile feeding van, and has been providing prepackaged
food boxes to seniors and families in need. salvationarmynca.org
World Central Kitchen is serving 100,000 fresh meals every day across the country to frontline health workers and others. wck.org
Sweetgreen’s Impact Outpost Fund – a result of a collaboration with World Central Kitchen– is aiming to provide 100,000 healthy meals to healthcare providers. sweetgreen.com/donate
S.O.M.E (So Others May Eat) is serving to-go meals to underserved populations. some.org
Health & Medical Research
National Foundation for Cancer Research provides scientists funding they need to
make game-changing discoveries in cancer treatments, detection, prevention and a cure. NFCR emphasizes long-term, transformative research often overlooked by other major funding sources. One of its longtime supported research scientists is conducting research for a COVID-19 cure. nfcr.org
American Heart Association, which canceled its April 29 Heart’s Delight Wine Tasting & Auction, is raising crucial funds to support research combatting heart disease. Those with heart disease, stroke survivors and caregivers who face increased health risks during the pandemic can rely on their science-based information. heart.org
V Foundation for Cancer Research, which canceled its April 25 Virginia Vine event, is raising funds to support cutting-edge cancer research nationwide, and locally, its mission partners the University of Virginia Health System and the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University. v.org
The National Domestic Workers Alliance has been providing emergency assistance for in- home care workers, nannies, house cleaners, and other domestic workers across the country. domesticworkers.org
D.C. Safe is a domestic abuse organization combatting domestic violence cases which have been rising during the crisis. dcsafe.org
N Street Village is continuing to provide meals, laundry, virtual classes, showers and shelter assistance to its female clients in the community. nstreetvillage.org
Children & Families
Best Friends Foundation, which canceled its April 3 ‘Make Music Not Madness’ Gala, needs essential funds to support its programs to elementary, middle and high schools to prevent bullying, violence and drug use, while also supporting college and vocational scholarships to students in the DC Public School System. bestfriendsfoundation.org
With the abrupt closure of schools, Boys and Girls Clubs of America kids and their families are facing issues from food insecurity to childcare shortages for parents who are essential workers. Donations help to keep the Boys and Girls Clubhouses open in the area and beyond. bgca.org
With the closure of area schools Mentor Foundation USA has seen a spike in substance abuse related to the uncertainties caused by the crisis. Mentor supports career mentoring programs and peer-to-peer programs focused on youth. mentorfoundationusa.org
Living Classrooms works to disrupt the cycle of poverty in the area by helping inner city youth and adults achieve their potential through hands-on education, workforce development, health and wellness, and violence prevention programming. LC successfully advocated to keep Kingman and Heritage Islands open for recreation, and while most of its programs are suspended, is raising funds for Camp Fraser, its STEM robotics competition, its Ascend Through Music Competition and for making and distributing student activity boxes at Dent House, which services nearby public housing. livingclassrooms.org
Other Organizations with Cancelled Fundraisers
Arena Stage has suspended all of its performances for the remainder of its season and canceled its upcoming gala. The theater is asking ticket holders to donate their tickets from cancelled performances to its Roaring Back Fund. arenastage.org/roaringback
The National Museum of Women in the Arts, which canceled its April spring gala, is raising funds to support special exhibitions, educational programs and a variety of audience engagement initiatives. nmwa.org
The Washington Ballet, which canceled its April and May performances of “Swan Lake” and “Coppe?lia” at the Kennedy Center, has gone digital with their daily #TWBdigitaldance on their social media channels. They are accepting donations to support dancers and staff through its Stronger than Ever Campaign. washingtonballet.org
The Phillips Collection which canceled their annual dinner, has taken its art virtual. phillipscollection.org
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate which recently canceled its annual benefit, is providing educational resources online. mountvernon.org
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, which recently canceled its spring ball, are staying connected to visitors with #HirshhornInsideOut and corresponding activities online. hirshhorn.si.edu
PEN/Faulkner canceled its annual benefit supporting emerging authors. penfaulkner.org
Orchestra of the Americas, which canceled its spring event, is providing access to online music training and performance opportunities through its America’s Response program. orchestraoftheamericas.org