Update and Thanks to Our Partners

Little more than a month ago, a global crisis was rapidly unfolding. As an institution, Helmsley did what we always do: affirmed to our grantees our commitment to being a trusted partner. We are so grateful to those of you we’ve spoken with in the past few weeks. Your perspectives, as always, proved invaluable. We listened. We asked questions. We recognized the crucial role of philanthropy at this moment and, guided by these conversations, forged our response to the myriad needs facing the communities we aim to serve.

In short, we all – Helmsley and our grantees alike – kicked into emergency response mode. To date, we have made nearly 100 COVID-19-related grants focused primarily in three program areas: Israel, Rural Healthcare, and Type 1 Diabetes. In the coming weeks, we expect to make additional grants, including from our Crohn’s Disease, Vulnerable Children in Sub-Saharan Africa, and New York City Programs. The bulk of our emergency grants reflect the steadfast belief that guides our efforts every day: no matter where you call home, everyone should have access to quality healthcare. 

In Israel, our deep relationships with health leaders, our track record of support to improve health facilities, and our commitment to supporting the Israeli people during times of crisis made us a go-to partner for officials planning the Israeli response. We’ve deployed more than $11 million to date to 17 hospitals to purchase needed equipment and create additional intensive care units and COVID-19-specific wards. 

For a decade, our Rural Healthcare Program’s grantmaking has focused on telehealth and improved cardiac care. As telehealth needs surge nationwide, our longtime grantee, Avera Health is now reaching more than 500 facilities across the country, 24/7. Meanwhile, amidst increasing evidence of acute cardiac needs in treating COVID-19, Helmsley is providing nearly $5 million in grants to hospitals and health systems across Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming to purchase LUCAS mechanical CPR machines. As many as 20% of COVID-19 patients need cardiac care as a result of the virus, and hands-on CPR poses risks to both patients and healthcare workers – who are facing higher caseloads than ever before. LUCAS devices will be a life-saving resource that relieves pressure on staff today, and will serve hospitals and first responders throughout the region long after the immediate crisis.  

Helmsley’s Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) Program is committed to ensuring that everyone living with T1D has the supplies they need to manage the condition – including insulin. In addition to making grants to support distribution of insulin, glucose testing supplies, and other necessities to clinics serving those who can’t afford to buy what they need, the T1D Program reached out to more than 75 diabetes clinics nationwide to ask how Helmsley can help. We are in the process of making general operating support grants to more than 50 of them. Many sites will use the resources to implement telehealth to continue serving their patients through this crisis and beyond. In addition, sites will have virtual access to certified diabetes care and educator specialists for their patients through Cecelia Health, supported by Helmsley.

We know that this crisis is impacting everyone. Please continue to be in touch – we are aware that for some of our grantees, work plans need to shift, especially for grants that support research trials. We are committed to working together and finding solutions as best we can in the face of continued ambiguities.  

Thank you, as always, for the critical work that you do.   

With our wishes for good health,

Sandor Frankel, David Panzirer, and Walter Panzirer

Trustees