Thank you for supporting our greatest resource: YOU!

January 21, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

“Our Michigan Medicine community has come together in tremendous ways to help us support our staff as we continue to provide excellent patient care and tackle new research challenges.”- Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the medical school, executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of Michigan Medicine.

Last March, COVID-19 changed our lives as infection rates soared across the nation. At the onset, Michigan Medicine’s immediate concern was providing every patient with top-notch care.

Despite the novelty and severity of the coronavirus, our workers — many volunteering for the front line — tirelessly cared for patients, saving lives while putting their own at risk. Soon, a new need emerged: supporting those who were giving so much of themselves.

In response, the organization created the COVID-19 Philanthropic Fund to address the professional and personal needs of employees arising from these uncertain times. Based on input from front-line workers, and with recommendations from a multidisciplinary committee, we implemented ways to support our greatest resource — our employees.

Ensuring caregivers had personal protective equipment (PPE) was an obvious first step, and donors everywhere helped us collect hundreds of thousands of gloves, masks and face shields.

Emotional and physical well-being were also priorities. Dedicated volunteers answered the call by working with area restaurants to deliver and serve more than 20,000 meals to front-line caregivers before, during and after their shifts, boosting both energy and spirit. We provided worker care packages and scrubs embroidered with “Hail to the Front Line,” while publically recognizing their heroic efforts with advertisements and on social media.

We also combined a portion of the COVID-19 Philanthropic Fund with gifts from community members and employees to create the Michigan Medicine Employee Emergency Need Fund. Workers experiencing challenges due to COVID-19 could use the fund to cover child care, rent, transportation and other expenses, making a meaningful difference. As one recipient wrote:

“It has been such a horrible month for my family health-wise, financially, mentally, and emotionally, and this grant will GREATLY help us get back on our feet and stay afloat. I literally came to tears as I opened this email up to see that I was approved by the panel.”

“It’s heartwarming to see the overwhelming outpour of support for our employees during such challenging times,” said Deloris Hunt, chief human resources officer at Michigan Medicine. “The funds and resources provided by donors, local businesses, and our own employees have allowed us to ensure we’re caring for our own as they care for our community. Together we will get through this.”

Eric Barritt, associate vice president and chief development officer at Michigan Medicine, has also been awed by the response from donors.

“Gifts large and small, from all over the world, have made an incredible impact for our front-line workers,” Barritt said. “I am grateful to our donors for their compassionate support of our employees’ well-being as they navigate the pandemic.”

While the COVID-19 vaccines are bringing hope, the pandemic is not yet behind us. The COVID-19 Philanthropic Fund will continue to help ensure we can meet the ongoing needs of our dedicated faculty, staff, and learners, today and into the future.