Anonymous donor gifts $1 million to VCU Health System, asks others to do the same

VCU helps fund Virginia Catalyst, which is funding a $5 million research grant to treat COVID-19. Photo by Alessandro Latour

Hannah Eason, News Editor

An anonymous donor gifted $1 million to VCU Health System, according to a release from the university on Monday, and is asking others to match their donation.

The donor challenged community members to donate another $1 million toward the VCU COVID-19 Response Fund.

Peter Buckley, interim CEO of VCU Health System and senior vice president of VCU Health Sciences, said the gift provided “critical” funding for meeting the needs of the community. He said his staff has been working “tirelessly” to care for patients and prepare.

“They’re serving on the front lines, facing a public health crisis that is bigger than all of us,” Buckley said in the release. “And today we take heart in this tangible example of our community’s respect and the extent to which they’ll aid us in our work.”

VCU’s response fund will use “unrestricted” resources to address the critical needs of healthcare providers facing COVID-19 in Richmond and Central Virginia. The release focused on three areas of focus.

Patient support: The response fund will cover diagnostic and treatment efforts, patient care, equipment, facilities, home monitoring and transportation.

Research: Clinical trials, inpatient testing, creating equipment and devices to save patients with COVID-19 are all prioritized under the fund.

Medical staff and students: The fund will provide rooms for medical staff working in “COVID-related” areas that cannot return home and put their families at risk. Efforts also include increasing child care options and supporting health science students who have been displaced by the coronavirus.

According to the fund’s site, it will address clinical care needs, such as an emergency triage center, health screenings, full-function treatment rooms for pediatric care and the needs of frontline health care workers responding to COVID-19.

President of VCU and VCU Health System, Michael Rao, said he was grateful for the support of “courageous and committed care providers” in the release.

“This will enable and empower us to find solutions to one of humanity’s most pressing problems,” Rao said in the release, “and allow those we serve to know they are in the very best hands.”

Donations to the VCU COVID-19 Response Fund can be made at

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