The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation announced Thursday it is giving $500,000 to help front-line caregivers in acute care hospitals in Western New York, upping its support of emergency responses related to Covid-19 to $2.75 million in the past four weeks.
The foundation wants the funds used primarily to help nurse aides, environmental and food services staff and others who it says "may not have access to as many financial and social supports and are playing equally critical roles in the healthcare system every day."
“Caregivers on the front lines of COVID-19 put themselves in harm’s way for the benefit of others and work tirelessly, day in and day out," said David Egner, the foundation's president and CEO, in a statement.
"It’s critical that they too are cared for," he said. "Our trustees and staff have been touched by stories shared by our grantees about frontline hospital workers accessing basic needs like childcare, transportation, and healthy meals. We hope these grant funds play a role in providing some comfort to these crucial workers.”
The foundation has given roughly the same amount of funds to support similar efforts in Southeast Michigan.
Western New York hospitals that will benefit are Brooks-TLC Hospital System, Catholic Health, Eastern Niagara Hospital, Great Lakes Health System of WNY (Erie County Medical Center/Kaleida Health), Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Rochester Regional Health, UPMC Chautauqua, University of Rochester Medical Center, Buffalo VA Medical Center and Wyoming County Community Health System.
“As our communities struggle during this time of uncertainty and crisis, our team felt it was vital to act immediately to provide funding and relief to groups and organizations within our focused giving areas, and larger collaborative funds supporting our regions,” Egner said.
The foundation previously gave $700,000 to the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo's WNY COVID-19 Community Response Funds; $200,000 to United Way of Greater Rochester & Rochester Area Community Foundation's Community Crisis Fund; and $100,000 to United Way for Southern Chautauqua County's Chautauqua County Crisis Response Fund: COVID-19.
An additional $1.25 million was given to Western New York organizations to support urgent needs related to caregivers, small businesses and entrepreneurs, nonprofits and early childhood care.
The 5-year-old Wilson Foundation, which was formed to donate funds from the sale of the Buffalo Bills and other investments, reflects Ralph C. Wilson's commitment to his hometown of Detroit and to Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise.