The COVID-19 death toll among healthcare workers sparked creation of a crowdsourcing fundraiser to aid their families.
The St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation and Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, are behind the Frontline Families Fund, dedicated to offering college scholarships for children of healthcare workers who’ve died from COVID and paying funeral or other costs. An estimated 1,400 healthcare workers have died of COVID.
“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,” Osterholm told the Star Tribune. “We need hope right now.”
The fund was the idea of Osterholm, who President-elect Joe Biden recently added to his coronavirus task force.
“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,” Jeremy Wells, the foundation’s senior vice president of philanthropic services, told the newspaper.
The fund was established Nov. 16, and at deadline was more than a third of the way to its goal of $1 million.
“We are now in the most dangerous public health moment in this country since 1918,” Osterholm said. “And it really is a situation where healthcare workers are the ultimate shock absorber for so many medical, sociologic and economic issues.”