Relief fund will support families of healthcare workers who died of COVID-19

Dr. Michael Osterholm has partnered with the St. Paul and Minnesota Foundation to launch the Frontline Families Fund.
Publish date:

The St. Paul and Minnesota Foundation has launched a fund to provide financial support to families of the hundreds of frontline healthcare workers who've died due to COVID-19. 

The foundation partnered with Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) and member of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force, to create the Frontline Families Fund, the foundation said in a Monday news release

“I’m deeply troubled by the steep toll COVID-19 is taking among our frontline healthcare workers,” Osterholm said in a statement. “We can never make right what happened to these families. But we can do something for them as they have been there to care for us. This pandemic is so painful. We need a pandemic of caring to take it on.”

Nearly 1,400 healthcare workers in the United States have died of COVID-19, including at least one in Minnesota, the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Guardian report. As of Tuesday, more than 246,000 Americans have died from the novel coronavirus, the New York Times says.

The Frontline Families Fund will provide direct financial support to families of healthcare workers who have died via relief grants and a Frontline Families Scholarship Fund to support post-secondary education for their children.

The fund also has a goal of highlighting the pandemic's disproportionate impact on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) health care workers "primarily through the work" of Dr. Osterholm and American Public Media Research Lab's Color of Coronavirus project, the foundation says.

The project says it is the most robust and up-to-date portrait of COVID-19 mortality by race that's available. In its latest update on Nov. 12, it says Black and Indigenous people continue to see the greatest loss of life, with both groups experiencing a death toll exceeding 1 in 1,000.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in August said a Black person's chance of getting COVID-19 is 2.6 times higher than a white person's, while their chance for hospitalization is 4.7 times higher and their chance of death is 2.1 times higher. 

COVID-19 hospitalization and death by race/ethnicity as of Aug. 18.

COVID-19 hospitalization and death by race/ethnicity as of Aug. 18.

Due to the inequitable impact of COVID-19, the Frontline Families Fund will give priority to BIPOC families and those who have demonstrated socio-economic needs, the foundation notes.

Jeremy Wells, senior vice president of philanthropic services for the foundation, said they're honored to work with Osterholm on this relief fund.

“Mike has identified urgent needs and profound inequities created by the pandemic. We are mustering the foundation’s resources to get the fund into operation quickly, enlist additional partners and orchestrate further awareness and fundraising campaigns," Wells said. 

The foundation has also partnered with Scholarship America and The Brave of Heart Fund. 

Families in the U.S. who've lost a healthcare worker due to COVID-19 can apply to receive relief from the fund. Those eligible can access grants at the Frontline Families Fund website here

Information about scholarships will be available on the fund's website in the coming months, with plans to make them available for the 2021-22 school year. 

Those interested in donating to the Frontline Families Fund can do so here. Funds will be distributed "as quickly as possible" but at least within three months of receiving any donation, the fund's website says. 

Next Up

Jorge Polanco

Shoemaker, Twins lineup rebounds against Tigers

Jorge Polanco homered in a 7-3 victory over Detroit.

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

Watch: Kaprizov's OT winner lifts Wild into 2nd place in West

Kaprizov's goal gave the Wild a 3-2 victory over the Ducks.

Byron Buxton

Buxton placed on IL, Trevor Larnach called up

Buxton could be out "for weeks" with a hip strain.

A bald eagle perched on branches.

USFWS confirms 2 bald eagles were shot dead

The agency is offering a reward for information in the case.

A newborn baby, wrapped in a blanket with its mother.

Most popular baby names includes one not in top 10 for 100 years

But Olivia and Liam once again led the way for girls and boys.

Minnesota Lottery

Names of big Minnesota Lottery winners to be kept private thanks to new law

The Minnesota Legislature passed the bill unanimously and Gov. Tim Walz signed it into law this week.

FLickr - COVID-19 vaccination - Commander, U.S. Naval Forces

All 8 state COVID-19 vaccine sites now accept walk-ins

Adults can get a no-cost vaccine without making an appointment.


Report: Vikings owners nearing purchase of Orlando City MLS franchise

The Wilfs reportedly attempted to buy the Minnesota United expansion franchise years ago.

bemidji paul bunyan

Video shows the moment someone broke the Paul Bunyan statue's arm

Police are asking for the public's help to identify those involved.

bridgeman's food truck duluth

Last remaining Bridgeman's Restaurant is launching a food truck

The Duluth restaurant is the only remaining full-service Bridgeman's in business.



Phase III COVID-19 vaccine trial halted after 'potentially unexplained illness'

Dr. Michael Osterholm said he'd be surprised if the illness was caused by the potential vaccine.


How hockey rinks may make it easier for COVID-19 to spread

Dr. Michael Osterholm reckons the cool and warm air in a rink can trap the virus.

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 1.47.56 PM

COVID-19 fall peak? Osterholm not expecting a massive 2nd wave

The fall peak has long been dubbed a "worst-case scenario" by Dr. Osterholm.

coronavirus, Iowa

Osterholm: Walz's restrictions could slow COVID-19 'maybe a little bit'

Osterholm believes much stricter mandates are needed to slow the pandemic.


Special session Monday to focus on COVID-19 relief for businesses, workers

After disagreeing on how long unemployment benefits should last, it appears lawmakers have reached a deal.

Michael Osterholm

U of M's Osterholm named to President-elect Biden's COVID-19 advisory board

The board has prominent doctors and scientists tasked at guiding Biden's transition to president and planning for the federal response to the virus.

coronavirus, coronavirus test, covid-19

Studies look at potential scenarios for COVID-19 in Minnesota

Osterholm said the coronavirus "is going to touch every family in Minnesota."

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 1.47.56 PM

Osterholm reiterates COVID-19 going dormant could be bad signal

The infectious disease specialist has said this a few times now.