The funding will be disbursed to help community health centers, free and charitable clinics and pharmacies, and other nonprofit health providers in Direct Relief's partner networks address unexpected costs due to COVID-19 and augment ongoing emergency deliveries of personal protective equipment and other essential health products. The gift also will support the protection and safety of health workers, the expansion of telehealth services and COVID-19 screening and testing, and increased assistance for populations most vulnerable to contracting the disease, including the homeless and elderly.
Recipients include the network of Federally Qualified Health Centers, which serve twenty-nine million U.S. residents, including one in five individuals in rural areas and one in three living in poverty. As part of the commitment, Direct Relief will donate an additional $1 million, on top of a $1 million grant it made earlier this month, to the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, while a portion of the gift from 3M will be used to support international efforts.
Earlier this month, entertainment mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs' Team Love Initiative organized a celebrity dance-a-thon with proceeds directed to Direct Relief to assist providers in cities such as Detroit, New Orleans, and New York City where the COVID-19 fatality rate for African Americans is disproportionately high. "COVID-19 has affected communities across the country, but especially communities of color," said Combs. "The Team Love dance-a-thon gave us a chance to not only bring people together during these challenging times, but also raise funds to support our heroes working on the front lines. This partnership we've established with Direct Relief will allow us to continue to address the effects this terrible disease has on our most vulnerable communities."
"Self-initiated, voluntary acts of leadership and generosity — both from corporate leaders such as 3M and on a personal level as exemplified by Team Love and its captain, Diddy Combs — are such powerful examples of stepping up, pulling together, and making sure that the courage of health workers on the front lines is honored with meaningful support, and that the people most at risk in this pandemic are cared for," said Direct Relief president and CEO Thomas Tighe. "Direct Relief is able to launch this effort only because those with the most prominent voices have used them to support those whose voices are often not heard."