Money to Fund New Mobile Blood Collection Vehicle, Blood Donor Recruitment Campaign for Vitalant

PITTSBURGH, MAY 16, 2019 –  Blood Science Foundation, the fundraising and philanthropic arm of Vitalant (formerly Central Blood Bank), recently secured a $350,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation that is poised to make a tangible difference in the effort to maintain a safe, adequate blood supply for hospitals and health care partners in the region.

The majority of the grant ($300,000) will go toward purchasing a new state-of-the-art mobile blood collection vehicle for Vitalant’s Pittsburgh operations. The bus can be driven to a wide variety of places across the region, providing a convenient opportunity for blood donors to donate blood on the bus at their location. This can contribute to increasing the number of blood donors and blood donations in the area.

The remainder of the grant ($50,000) is earmarked to help raise awareness of Vitalant’s recently launched donor recruitment campaign in western Pennsylvania. The campaign aims to educate the public on the decline of regular blood donors in the area. It also seeks to convince community stakeholders – individuals, employers, churches and nonprofit organizations – to commit to regular blood donation and/or blood drives. 

“The numbers tell the story. Blood donations in our region have dropped by more than half over the past decade, and a continued decline could require hospitals to postpone treatments or surgeries,” said Mark Giaquinto, president and chief financial officer for Blood Science Foundation. “This generous grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation helps to ensure that Vitalant will have additional resources to combat what can only be described as a community-wide health crisis in the making.”

Vitalant expects to have its new mobile blood collection vehicle in place and on the road late this year.

The blood bank’s region-wide donor recruitment campaign kicked off in April with a news conference that included representatives from greater Pittsburgh’s largest health care providers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and blood donors and recipients. It continues through the spring and summer.