Pittsburgh foundation community donates generously in the fight against COVID-19

JUNE 23, 2020 – Pittsburgh, PA – Two Pittsburgh-area foundations and two anonymous donors have awarded grant funding to Blood Science Foundation to assist in pandemic relief initiatives. The foundations include Jefferson Regional Foundation and Richard King Mellon Foundation.

As the fundraising arm of Vitalant®, formerly known as Central Blood Bank, Blood Science Foundation will use the funds in strengthening efforts to protect the Pittsburgh region’s blood supply against COVID-19 and future crises. Specific initiatives include:

subsidizing the costs of collecting, testing, and supplying convalescent plasma for the treatment of critically ill COVID-19 patients in partnership with Allegheny Health Network and UPMC; reciprocal monetary donations to local food banks for every Vitalant blood donation; renovating community blood donor centers to protect donors and staff from virus transmission; and educating the community on the critical need for blood during this unprecedented time.

 “Ensuring the integrity of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s blood supply must be a fundamental component of our recovery plan,”

said Richard King Mellon Foundation Director Sam Reiman.

“The Blood Science Foundation submitted a creative and collaborative proposal to do just that, and the Foundation is gratified to support their efforts.”

Richard King Mellon Foundation donated the largest sum through their COVID-19 Economic Impact and Recovery Funding Request for Ideas, which aims to assist organizations acting collaboratively to address needs arising from the COVID-19 crisis and ease economic-decline caused by the pandemic. Blood Science Foundation was one of the 37 entities awarded grants out of 235 applicants. The Richard King Mellon Foundation so far has committed $15 million to COVID-19 relief.

Charlie Wilcox, President of Vitalant Northeast Division added, “The world we currently find ourselves in has created the need to change the way blood is donated and collected. We need to ensure these changes do not disturb the tireless efforts of our healthcare workers and the life-saving services they provide now and always.” Dr. Triulzi, Director, Division of Transfusion Medicine, Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh and Medical Director, Clinical Services, Vitalant Northeast Division, expressed his appreciation, “On behalf of our City’s frontline medical workers, we are especially grateful for the generosity the foundation community in Pittsburgh has demonstrated during this critical time while recognizing the importance that the blood supply plays in our region’s healthcare.”

Founded in 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation is the largest foundation in southwestern Pennsylvania. The Foundation’s 2019 endowment was $2.7 billion and its Trustees in 2019 awarded 172 grants totaling $129 million, focused on the Foundation’s strategic priorities: Economic development, education, environmental conservation and human services.