Donor gives $2M to Providence to help fight COVID-19

PORTLAND, Ore. — A retired businesswoman and philanthropist has given $2 million dollars to Providence.

Nancy Lematta is usually a quiet, sometimes anonymous donor. But with the uncertain times and health care workers struggling to keep up with the need stemming from the coronavirus, she decided to make a public donation this time.

“I kept thinking what can I do to help. Could I make masks? Well, I probably couldn’t make them the way I’m supposed to. What could I do? I thought I can give money. I am very fortunate, I have the ability to give money,” Lematta said.

She wants to challenge others in the community to match her contribution.

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Kelly Buechler, Chief Philanthropy Officer for Providence Foundations of Oregon said he was stunned when he heard about Lematta’s contribution.

“The struggle is real. I see it, I hear it in my colleagues every day,” Buechler said. “Health care has never needed philanthropy more than right now and I think a lot of people are starting to get that message.”

Buechler said the money will be used for research into a vaccine for the virus, other studies on infectious diseases, attempting to get more personal protective equipment (PPE), and in general making sure their health care workers are taken care of.

The money is also being used to purchase a couple ECMO machines that are supposed to help people who are in severe respiratory distress breathe better.

Providence is welcoming donations. Buechler said any donation made at this link will go toward Providence’s COVID-19 response.

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