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L.A. Philanthropic Initiative Launches Registry for Hospitals in Need

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May 13, 2020
Finished masks produced by the Tieks by Gavrieli shoe company, which will be donated to hospitals amid the coronavirus pandemic, rest on a table on March 31, 2020 in Culver City, California. The Los Angeles-based shoemaker, after learning of a need for masks in hospitals during the battle against COVID-19, has retrained employees to make the masks from sewing machines and launched an online campaign teaching people how to make the masks for donation at home. The cotton masks are intended for use by medical workers in non-coronavirus situations with more than 30,000 masks from the online campaign #SewTogether already on the way to hospitals, according to the company. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The Angelenos behind the Emergency Supply Donor Group (ESDG), a philanthropic initiative responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, have created a new tool for hospitals in urgent need of more resources.

The Greater Los Angeles Hospital Registry creates a public forum for local hospitals to detail their needs — from personal protective equipment (PPE) to snacks — so that the public strategically can provide donations during this crisis.

Ethos Giving founder and CEO Emily Kane Miller, who developed the tool along with LA LOOP CEO Elizabeth Faraut and philanthropist-investor Lisa Greer, told the Journal in a phone interview that she realized that the registry was necessary when her sister-in-law, a resident at a Los Angeles-area hospital, called and shared the staff’s overwhelming need for PPE.

“We wanted to figure out a way to go countywide quickly and we wanted to make sure that generosity was being extended to hospitals across L.A. County regardless of whether they were places that had preexisting relationships with donors,” Miller said.

She added that the registry is modeled after a wedding registry.

“In the same way that if you’re getting married, you say, ‘I want these many things in this quantity,’ we wanted to give hospitals the opportunity to essentially do the same things with PPE and supplies and meals and those sorts of things so that generous donors could go identify what the hospitals needed and also not be creating duplication,” Miller said.

ESDG, a fiscally sponsored project of Jumpstart Labs, launched at the end of March. Donors behind the initiative include former Westfield Corp. CEO Peter Lowy and the Homeland Security Advisory Council of Los Angeles (HSAC), Joe Sanberg and his company Aspiration.com, Tieks luxury footwear founder and CEO Kfir Gavrieli and Go Insurance.

HSAC Chairman Lowy, who is also chairman of Tribe Media, said, “We have been thrilled to support and partner with ESDG and the Greater Los Angeles Hospitals Registry resource, which answers simple but vital questions, such as: Which hospitals need the most help? Which items are most essential? How are we ensuring quality and follow through? By putting donors directly in touch with every participating hospital in an efficient and simple manner, we can improve health outcomes and save lives.”

Hospitals can post on the registry what they specifically need, and donors either can donate money to the hospital; or vendors can donate or sell specific resources to the hospital. For instance, if a hospital indicates it needs cotton swabs, and a vendor is offering to donate cotton swabs, ESDG will see if the vendor and hospital are a match and then arrange the drop-off.

If a vendor wants to sell cotton swabs to a hospital, then ESDG will determine if the vendor’s offer reflects fair market value before getting approval from the hospital. ESDG also can reach out to donors and organizations to see if they can cover the cost of the transaction.

On May 14, ESDG will donate 10,000 reusable face shields to medical workers in nine county hospitals, including LAC + USC Medical Center, Encino Hospital Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, which were procured from ShieldLA, an organization consisting mainly of furloughed Disney engineers that is reimaging how to manufacture personal protective equipment faster and cheaper to meet heightened demand.

Sanberg, co-founder of online financial company Aspiration.com, told the Journal, “Part of being Jewish is you gotta provide help where help is needed and there’s no more acute need right now than equipping our front-line heroes with protective equipment that they need to protect themselves when they’re helping our family members and neighbors when they’re sick.”

He added: “My hope is that in doing this, we’re going to cast light on the need and that other business leaders and community leaders will step up because this is going to be an ongoing need. What we’re doing is one part of the solution, though. We need more business people in Los Angeles to do their part.”

Miller said ESDG hopes to procure gowns and N95 masks for medical workers in the coming weeks.

“In this moment when everything feels hard and complicated and sad, to be able to engage with these incredible stories and be able to help health care workers and put a smile on their face and have them feel appreciated … is just such incredible medicine for all of us who are able to participate in it,” she said, “and I think that the magic of the registry is that it helps people feel like they have something they can do to be of value right now.”

Tieks’ Gavrieli said, “There is nothing more important for me or Tieks right now than figuring how we can make a difference for the doctors, nurses and front-line health care workers who are risking everything to protect us.”

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