In March 2020, as COVID-19 cases were increasing rapidly in southeast Wisconsin, frontline staff throughout the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network remained committed to treating those impacted by the pandemic. At the same time, our surrounding community graciously recognized this and wanted to help.

“As the world changed quickly right in front of our eyes, all three hospital foundations experienced an amazing outpouring from people asking what they could do to help,” said Jessica Mulligan, executive director of the Froedtert Menomonee Falls Hospital Foundation. “At that time, I’m not sure if we were collectively prepared to answer that question, but we were eager to embrace this generosity and find a way to ensure gifts got to where they were most needed.”

In response, the health network’s three hospital foundations each established immediate impact funds to assist with the evolving, day-to-day needs created by our response to the pandemic. Combined, Froedtert Hospital’s Rapid Response Fund and Froedtert West Bend and Menomonee Falls Hospitals’ Stronger Together Fund received over $332,000.

Health network leadership directed $25,000 to clinical research for COVID-19 treatments, with the remaining funds allocated for the well-being of our staff and their families. Daily meals were provided for staff throughout the month of April, and nearby hotel rooms were made available for staff members who felt unsafe going home to their families due to their COVID-19 responsibilities. Childcare services were also provided, which were especially helpful when schools closed because of the pandemic.

To manage nonmonetary gifts, two additional teams were created to accept and distribute PPE and food donations. In the first week of receiving donations of new or unused PPE, we received more than 54,000 items, ranging from masks to gowns to heartfelt letters of gratitude.

“So many people came forward wanting to either make or donate new masks and other supplies that they could have used themselves,” Mulligan said. “The same can be said for restaurants and other organizations that wanted to feed our staff.”

As our physicians, nurses and other frontline staff continue their dedicated work during the pandemic, we deeply appreciate the kindness and generosity shown by people in the communities we serve. We are truly grateful for all the ways you have cared for us during this particularly challenging time.

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