The National Hemophilia Foundation has created a new grant program to support local bleeding disorders organizations in their efforts to provide financial assistance and educational programs to people with bleeding disorders during the coronavirus pandemic.
Many NHF chapters and other local bleeding disorders organizations rely on educational meetings, galas, walks, and other in-person events to generate revenue. With nearly all in-person events and walks canceled or moved to virtual platforms until at least 2021, these organizations were looking at a sustained loss of income – income that provides direct support to people with bleeding disorders through educational programs, camps, and financial assistance. To assist, NHF created the COVID-19 Fund Bridge Grant program.
Organizations who apply for the grants can receive up to $7,500 to cover operating expenses to provide educational programs and to fund emergency financial assistance programs. They must be chapters of NHF or Hemophilia Federation of America (HFA) organization members to be eligible.
Like many people in the US, the bleeding disorders community has been affected by the economic impacts of the pandemic: unemployment and loss of income. Ensuring that chapters had strong financial assistance programs, which can cover community members’ needs such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities and food costs is a priority for NHF, said Leonard Valentino, MD, President and CEO of NHF.
“It’s imperative to NHF that local chapters and member organizations have the resources necessary to continue to address the acute needs of their members,” Valentino said.
NHF cancelled all travel for staff members through the end of 2020 in March, as the coronavirus spread rapidly on the east and west coasts. As staff worked to move meetings and trainings to virtual platforms, they also wanted to ensure that the money budgeted for staff travel was allocated back into community support. Those funds became the base of the COVID-19 Fund Bridge Grants. Additional support has been provided by Pfizer, Sanofi Genzyme, and Genentech. Further, the Hemophilia Alliance has pledged to match each grant given to chapters up to $7,500. This, in addition to $500,000 made available to chapters from the Hemophilia Alliance previously, brings the total amount of money available to local chapters and member organizations to $1.5 million. “The board of the Hemophilia Alliance immediately say the opportunity to help operationally support chapters across the country,” said Joe Pugliese, President and CEO of the Hemophilia Alliance. “We felt it was important during this time that we step in directly to help.”
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, NHF has relied on three core principles in guiding our response: First is to protect the health and safety of the bleeding disorders community; second is to help limit the spread and mitigate the effects of the coronavirus; and last but not least, to maintain excellence in all of the programs that our community depends upon,” said Valentino. “The COVID-19 Bridge Fund Grant program allows chapters to continue supporting their members in a safe way, and we hope it will help sustain our chapters as we all work towards our ‘new normal.’”