GRoW @ Annenberg & CCF give to seed COVID-19 emergency fund

Photo of nurses in the MLKCH emergency department

We’re pleased to announce extraordinary gifts for extraordinary times to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH). GRoW @ Annenberg, a philanthropic initiative of the Annenberg Foundation, has committed $100,000 for greatest need in response to COVID-19. The California Community Foundation (CCF) has expanded upon this with a commitment of $60,000. Together, this generosity has inspired the MLK Community Health Foundation to establish an emergency fund for all friends who wish to offer their support to our caregivers in the front lines of this crisis.

Uncertainties around the COVID-19 pandemic have created supply, equipment, and staffing challenges around the world. During times of crisis, it is often communities like South LA that are hit the hardest. 

The seed commitments in MLKCH’s Emergency Fund establish a reservoir of flexible funds that will ensure the hospital can respond to patient, staff, and community needs as they evolve. 

“We know that this pandemic is spreading quickly and moving quickly to get resources where they’re needed is essential,” said Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, a Vice President and Director of the Annenberg Foundation and Founder of the initiative GRoW @ Annenberg. 

Both organizations recognize the importance of flexibility during this time of crisis. 

“No one has a blueprint for this. A history of inequitable health resources in South LA means there are even greater needs. CCF’s commitment is to ensuring that all Californians can access the healthcare they need. We know that an unrestricted gift will have the most impact towards addressing those needs,” said Ann Sewill, CCF’s Vice President of Housing & Health. 

So far, funding from the GRoW @ Annenberg gift has already been used to purchase technology solutions that make on-demand urgent care services accessible to patients while limiting their potential exposure to the virus. 

“Patients want to know what their fever or sore throat means. We’ve set up a chat bot on our website that uses artificial intelligence to guide patients through the best course of care,” said Tracy Donegan, MLKCH’s Chief Information Officer. “In addition, we’ve been able to quickly expand our telemedicine capacities.”

MLKCH is anticipating exceptionally high Emergency Department volume in the coming weeks. Technology solutions relieve some of the pressure on resources and limit the exposure of risk to clinical staff and other patients. 

“The situation around COVID-19 is evolving so fast that we can’t anticipate every need,” said Dyan Sublett, President of the MLK Community Health Foundation. “These two gifts launching our Emergency Fund are already being joined by new and creative philanthropic gestures—such as in-kind gifts of rooms for our doctors and nurses on the front line to shower and change before returning home to their loved ones and food deliveries for staff at the hospital busy caring for patients. We couldn’t be more grateful to GRoW @ Annenberg and CCF for their outreach to us. It has enormous impact here on both morale and outcome. We know there will be difficult times ahead for our staff and patients—the Emergency Fund will give us a better chance at winning this fight."


About GRoW @ Annenberg
GRoW @ Annenberg is the philanthropic initiative led by Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, a Vice President and Director of the Annenberg Foundation. GRoW is dedicated to supporting humanitarian efforts across the globe, as well as innovative projects in health, education, the arts, the environment, and civic & cultural life.

About the California Community Foundation 
Our mission is to lead positive systemic change that strengthens Los Angeles communities. We envision a future where all Angelenos have the opportunity to contribute to the productivity, health and well-being of our region. And we believe that our common fate will be determined by how successfully we improve the quality of life for all of our residents. The impact we help create is of, by and for Los Angeles, because the community is our foundation.


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