Scott Nathan and Laura DeBonis hope to inspire others with their $250,000 gift to Mass General’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

A Washington, D.C. couple with strong ties to Boston has given $250,000 to support Massachusetts General Hospital’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic. They want others to follow their lead. The gift, from Scott Nathan and Laura DeBonis, supports Mass General’s Emergency Response Fund — a special flexible fund designed to bolster the hospital’s ability to rapidly respond to devastating events.

“I hope this gift helps Mass General effectively deal with this crisis — and we hope to inspire a broader community of people to get involved.”

“I hope this gift helps Mass General effectively deal with this crisis — and we hope to inspire a broader community of people to get involved,” Mr. Nathan says.

Flexible Funds to Fight COVID-19

A former official in the Obama administration, now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, Mr. Nathan has closely followed the course of the outbreak with growing concern.

“Early on, the issue of testing people for the virus seemed to be mired in indecision and bureaucracy,” Mr. Nathan says. “I felt that our country was just sleepwalking into a disaster.”

After reading an email describing Mass General’s efforts to develop and deploy in-house rapid testing, Mr. Nathan contacted hospital President Peter L. Slavin, MD. Days later, Mr. Nathan met with Paul Biddinger, MD, Mass General’s chief of Emergency Preparedness and doctors from the departments of Pathology and Infectious Diseases.

“The more I learned more about how the hospital was preparing, and the issues that they were facing with this outbreak, the more it seemed that giving flexible money to the hospital was the right thing to do,” Mr. Nathan says.

“This is a moment for us to put our trust in the leaders and institutions that have planned for events like this.”

Providing Frontline Resources

As one of only ten Regional Ebola and other Special Pathogens Centers designated by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Mass General has specialized teams of clinical staff trained to provide safe care to patients in exactly this kind of outbreak. In parallel, our researchers and physicians are working with the newly-formed Greater Boston Consortium for Pathogen Readiness on research to quickly and effectively respond to COVID-19.

Donations to the Emergency Response Fund provide flexible funding to support Mass General’s comprehensive response effort and provide our caregivers and scientists on the frontline with the resources they need.

“This isn’t the time to be restrictive in our giving,” Mr. Nathan says. “This is a moment for us to put our trust in the leaders and institutions that have planned for events like this.”

To learn more about how you can support Mass General’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic, click here.