Tom Preston-Werner home

We Are Giving $1M Toward San Francisco COVID-19 Response

23 Mar 2020 - San Francisco

COVID-19 represents an unprecedented threat to the health and livelihood of people everywhere, and as we wait for the the US government to act on this emergency, my wife, Theresa, and I have decided to put one million dollars toward our local community’s efforts to prepare for and mitigate the effects of the disease.

We have split the funds equally amoung four organizations, focusing on the well-being of frontline medical workers and food security for vulnerable populations here in the city. The programs we chose are:

UCSF Health - We asked the leadership of the UCSF hospital system what they needed most to help their frontline workers and they told us their most urgent current need is in providing hotel rooms for their medical staff that are worried about going home and infecting their families. We hope this money can provide that form of safety and comfort during these difficult times. Give to UCSF.

Zuckerberg SF General Hospital - We talked with the CEO of SF General and will be supporting their efforts in acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) for their medical staff. We’re also in touch with Ryan Peterson, CEO of Flexport, who is helping coordinate logistics around the purchase and shipping of PPE to SF hospitals in order to help make this happen as quickly as possible. Give to SF General.

YMCA - As the parents of three young children, we greatly empathize with the challenges that parents face during this crisis. This is especially true for those critical healthcare workers who we rely on to care for us. With that in mind, we have partnered with the YMCA to provide free childcare (including for ages 0-5 years of age) to frontline workers here in SF, regardless of where they live. Give to YMCA.

Give2SF Fund - In addition to frontline medical workers, we wanted to support food security for some of the most vulnerable populations in SF. Mayor London Breed and the Office of the Mayor have set up the Give2SF Fund to streamline donations for several programs, one of which will provide grocery store gift cards to at-risk residents of SF, including undocumented and mixed status households, low-income households with a pregnant woman or infant, and older adults and persons who have underlying health conditions who are quarantined and/or who have lost in-home support. Give2SF.

These efforts are all local to our home town, but the coronavirus is global. Through Preston-Werner Ventures we are digging into the most effective ways to help abroad as well. Most of our philanthropic dollars go to international causes, especially around community health workers in Africa and Asia, so we hope to leverage that expertise in this crisis.

If you’ve found that the US economy has worked in your favor over the last several years or decades and are able to contribute funds of any amount to these organizations or others, here in SF or anywhere else in the world, I implore you to do so now. Be decisive. Preparation will make a difference in saving lives and protecting those that are risking theirs in our hospitals and other essential workplaces.

Together, we are strong.