After its $10 million donation this week to the University of Washington Medicine’s emergency response fund, a philanthropic group founded by Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, says it has pledged more than $25 million thus far toward organizations working to blunt the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Ballmer Group said its latest donation toward the healthcare system in Seattle, where the Ballmers live, will be used to accelerate testing for a virus vaccine.
“Testing is the most immediate priority right now as we try to reduce community spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Paul Ramsey, UW Medicine’s chief executive. “Private philanthropy, like Connie and Steve Ballmer’s extraordinary gift, is critical to expanding testing at the speed and scale required to save lives. We are incredibly grateful for their leadership during this crisis.”
The group has also continued to give grants for short-term, immediate needs in southeastern Michigan, where Ballmer grew up, and Los Angeles, the home of his NBA team.
Last week, the group announced $1 million in gifts toward the Los Angeles County’s Office of Education, the Los Angeles Unified School District and to help low-wage workers and the homeless. Since then, more funds in Los Angeles have been granted toward providing childcare for first responders, healthcare workers and workers deemed “essential”; and helping workers at small businesses and nonprofits access publicly available funds.
Additionally, a $100,000 donation was made to the Los Angeles Community College District, which oversees nine local community colleges, said Michael Fuller, the executive director for the Foundation for the Los Angeles Community Colleges.
The donation will go toward the financial and food needs of “our students and their families, many of whom are now part of the thousands of people being laid off from work due to the virus outbreak,” said Fuller, through a spokesperson, who added that aid will be distributed quickly to applicants. “We thank them from the bottom of our hearts for this generous gift that will help hundreds of our students.”
Earlier this week, Ballmer agreed to spend $400 million to purchase the Forum, as a means of moving along the Clippers’ proposed arena project in Inglewood.