COVID-19: the first 30 days.

30 days.

That’s how long we at the Valley Medical Center Foundation has been working this crisis – nearly 24/7 (and hats off to the many County staff who have been at it for twice as long).

The VMC Foundation of March 17, 2020 no longer exists. On that day, for at least the foreseeable future, we became a new organization.

Our marching orders were clear; we needed to raise (lots of) money and material to prepare for a surge of COVID-19 patients at our local hospitals. We had no time to waste. A national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other materials meant we were vulnerable. As we watched the horrors of Italy and New York unfold (and before that Wuhan, Iran, and elsewhere), we thought of our friends and colleagues at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, O’Connor Hospital, and St. Louise Regional Hospital who would be putting their lives at risk.

We resolved that they would not go into that fight alone.

That day, we launched a major campaign to collect PPE from the community and raise funds to buy whatever else was needed. Within hours, our phone lines were jammed and our office was full of boxes.  It has been that way ever since. That’s because big-time leaders stepped up to help, like Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino, and many, many others.  Churches, small businesses struggling on their own to survive, student groups, and some of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies came through with donations big and small.

The numbers speak for themselves. In 30 days, we have:

  • Secured pledges of $5,873,210 in donations;
  • Received over 2,554,869 donated items of personal protective equipment to support healthcare workers Valley-wide;
  • Purchased $1,998,876 in urgently needed materials, supplies, and services including ventilators, rapid testing equipment, and tele-health technology;
  • Sourced and purchased PPE worldwide, bringing in tens of thousands of additional N95 masks, disinfectant wipes, gowns, and more;
  • Worked with DIYers and some of the Valley’s most prominent companies to design and fabricate 100K+ face shields locally;
  • Engaged a mighty army of sewers to produce over 10,000 hand-made masks for healthcare workers;
  • Coordinated delivery of 17,340 donated meals and coffees to tired (and hungry) healthcare workers;
  • Supported the launch of the Field Respite Center @ Santa Clara Convention Center with essential supplies like clothing, toiletries and other personal items for patients;
  • Secured heavily discounted hotel space for healthcare workers who must self-isolate from their families; and
  • Launched mobile staff shower facilities at SCVMC.

None of this would have been possible without your support and the extraordinary leadership of the County of Santa Clara and SCVMC, O’Connor Hospital and St. Louise Regional Hospital staff.  We are particularly grateful to Board of Supervisors President Chavez, SCVMC CEO Paul Lorenz, Public Health Officer Dr. Sarah Cody, Dr. Jennifer Tong and Nari Singh at the County Emergency Operations Center, the terrific SCVMC Logistics team, and many, many others.

In normal times, this would all be a cause for celebration. But we aren’t there yet. This crisis is far from over, and while we are so grateful for your support, We Still Need Your Help. Talk to your friends, family, and neighbors (6 feet apart, of course) and tell them what you have done — what we have done together. Ask for their support in money and material. Consider making another gift yourself.

At the end of this sadness and devastation, let’s look back knowing that we did everything we could to end it. Together.