Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Chicago area, Rush University System for Health has been committed to excellence through preparedness and decisive action. At each stage of the evolving pandemic, a growing community of donors has been in lockstep with Rush faculty and staff, responding to the crisis by sending meals, donating personal protective equipment and contributing to the Rush COVID-19 Response Fund.
Now, two anonymous donor families are stepping forward in a big way.
Backed by their extraordinary generosity, Rush is announcing a $1 million matching gift challenge. Inspired by Rush’s COVID-19 response efforts, these philanthropists have agreed to match every donation to Rush’s COVID-19 response funds, dollar-for-dollar, up to $1 million. Their hope is to motivate other donors and community members with the ability to give and help Rush secure the resources needed to save lives and restore daily life.
“This is a critical moment in our community. It requires all of us working together to find a solution. This is our home, my family’s home for multiple generations, where they started in this country as immigrants,” said one anonymous lead donor of the match. “This is something we can do to give back, especially to the people on the front lines.”
Springing into action
As soon as the COVID-19 crisis emerged in Chicago, Rush donors began inquiring how they could help. Within a matter of days, the Rush COVID-19 Response Fund was established to support frontline staff; testing, treatment and research; patients and families; and other emergent needs to keep our Chicago community safe. As of April 24, more than $2.6 million had been donated to the fund. In-kind donations of food, PPE and technology have amounted to several hundred thousands of dollars in additional support.
"This is an unprecedented time for our nation and with it has come unprecedented support for the thousands of health care heroes across the Rush system," said Dr. Ranga Krishnan, CEO of Rush University System for Health. "This incredible matching gift speaks to the depth of passion our donors have for this organization. It also speaks to their desire to inspire others who recognize that we are all in this together."
In recent weeks, Rush has established two additional funds to reflect the evolving challenges presented by COVID-19. One dedicated fund is accelerating research at Rush by securing the resources our faculty need to study and understand the virus that causes COVID-19. And a student relief fund assists Rush University students facing financial hardship due to the pandemic, allowing these future health care professionals to remain focused on their academic coursework.
Up to the challenge
When one of the anonymous donor families heard the COVID-19 Response Fund was established, they wanted to figure out a way for others in the community to follow their lead, inspiring the idea for the matching gift.
Not long after those initial conversations, a second donor family reached out to ask how their gift could have the maximum impact.
“I have been impressed by how Rush has emerged as a national and local leader during the pandemic,” this donor said. “Rush is being recognized for its foresight, leadership and community contribution. I have always been proud of Rush, but watching how their whole system has handled this crisis has made a lasting impression on me. I hope my support expresses my admiration and appreciation to the entire Rush team for its heroic response to COVID-19, being a visionary leader, and always offering excellent and compassionate patient care.”
By combining these generous gifts into a larger challenge — one that matches all donations up to $1 million raised — these donors seized an opportunity to maximize the community’s ability to support Rush. Remaining anonymous, the donors chose to focus the attention of their support on the work of Rush’s COVID-19 responders and on the collective action to support it.
“Our hope was that others could play a role as well and give what they can,” said the match’s initial donor. “By working together, we can find a solution quickly.”
How to participate in the matching challenge
All monetary gifts made in support of Rush’s COVID-19 response efforts will count toward the challenge and will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $1 million. Gifts to any of the three COVID-19-related funds will unlock matching donations, which will support COVID-19 response and research.