The families of health care workers who died of COVID-19 during this pandemic will get a boost thanks to the new Frontline Families Fund.
The St. Paul and Minnesota Foundation announced the nationwide program on Monday that will offer relief grants and scholarships to the children of health care workers who died of the coronavirus. The fund will be in partnership with epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and a newly appointed member of President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 task force.
“I’m deeply troubled by the steep toll COVID-19 is taking among our frontline healthcare workers,” Osterholm said in a prepared statement. “We can never make right what happened to these families. But we can do something for them as they have been there to care for us. This pandemic is so painful. We need a pandemic of caring to take it on.”
Nearly 250,000 in the U.S. have died of the coronavirus since it arrived earlier this year. Minnesota is in the midst of a fall surge, with deaths topping 2,900 and more than 1,550 Minnesotans in the hospital being treated for the virus.
The fund’s organizers estimate 1,400 health care workers have died of COVID-19.
The organizers also aim to shed light on the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on people of color. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the chances of Blacks dying of the coronavirus are 2.1 times higher than whites.
Jeremy Wells, senior vice president of philanthropic services for the St. Paul and Minnesota Foundation, said he is thankful to collaborate with Osterholm.
“Mike has identified urgent needs and profound inequities created by the pandemic. We are mustering the Foundation’s resources to get the fund into operation quickly, enlist additional partners and orchestrate further awareness and fundraising campaigns,” Wells said in a statement.
Other partners on the project include:
HOW TO HELP
To donate, go to the fund’s website at frontlinefamiliesfund.org.
HOW TO APPLY
Eligible families can access grants through the fund’s website: frontlinefamiliesfund.org. More information regarding the scholarships will be available in coming months via the fund’s website and through scholarship partner, Scholarship America. Plans are for scholarships to be available beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year.