CONNOR MCBRIDE | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE
A fundraising partnership raised over $31,000 in donations for the Pullman Regional Hospital to increase COVID-19 testing capacity.
The fundraiser was part of the All In WA COVID-19 relief effort and gift-matching challenge started by Jeff Bezos. It ran for two weeks in September, said Rueben Mayes, chief development officer for the Pullman Regional Hospital Foundation.
The Amazon founder supported the All In WA philanthropic group by pledging up to $25 million in donation matching. The money will help Washington communities fight COVID-19, Mayes said.
PRH may receive money from All In WA to match the $31,000 in donations. Mayes said he does not know how much money the hospital may receive because it depends on how much money there is left of the $25 million.
Through a partnership with Innovia Foundation, the hospital qualified to receive funding from the relief program, he said.
Innovia Foundation serves 20 counties in eastern Washington and northern Oregon through grants and volunteer programs. Innovia’s available grant money has increased from around $6 million to nearly $15 million because of the pandemic, said Shelly O’Quinn, Innovia Foundation chief executive officer.
PRH’s testing needs have increased since August. The staff has been looking for creative solutions to help close the funding gap, Mayes said.
Since March, a variety of fundraising programs have helped raise around $850,000 for the hospital’s COVID-19 emergency fund, said Alison Weigly, PRH Foundation assistant director of development, marketing and major gifts.
The hospital’s budget for increased testing has grown to over $100,000. This is necessary to meet testing demands due to the increase in COVID-19 cases because of students returning to WSU, Mayes said.
The donation campaign paired with community support for PRH has increased the morale of staff during the pandemic, Mayes said. People have provided meals and gift cards for the staff as well as writing thank-you notes.
“The community is showing in a real way how much they appreciate the hospital,” he said. “It’s really pretty moving.”