CAA, Harvard School of Public Health & Thrive Global Launch #FirstRespondersFirst Support Fund

"They're taking care of us. We need to help take care of them," said the organizations behind the initiative

Medical Workers Inside Maryland Hospital Work During Coronavirus Pandemic
Medical workers prepare to help coronavirus patient in busy hospital. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty

The CAA Foundation, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and tech company Thrive Global are teaming up to help the first responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trio recently announced the launch of #FirstRespondersFirst, an initiative to raise money and provide essential supplies, equipment and resources to the frontline workers who are risking their lives every day to care for coronavirus patients.

“As many of us in the workforce are being asked to serve public health by stepping back and staying home, one population is being tasked to step forward,” reads a statement on the initiative’s website. “Our frontline health workers are the first responders in the fight against the coronavirus.”

“Their own health is threatened because of shortages in personal protective equipment including gowns, gloves, and masks,” the statement continues. “These health professionals will also be our guides and community allies on the road to our full recovery as a healthy nation. They’re taking care of us. We need to help take care of them.”

According to a press release obtained by PEOPLE, the initiative is “powered by Thrive Global’s behavior change platform” and gives “access to Harvard Chan School’s evidence-based content, specifically tailored to this critical workforce, to help improve the physical and mental well-being of healthcare workers.”

first responders first
First Responders First. Thrive Global

In addition to providing essential equipment, the fundraiser will raise money to help the “demographically and socially diverse workforce” with accommodations, child care, food, mental health support and other resources, the press release states.

A number of businesses — including Dutch Bros Coffee, Johnson & Johnson, Americares, Direct Relief, World Central Kitchen, Bright Horizons, Cisco, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International and Modelo — have already joined in with the efforts and are contributing in their own ways.

In particular, Bright Horizons will be offering free child care for first responders, which the company hopes will give working parents the “peace-of-mind to focus on their critical jobs,” according to the press release.

Marriott will be providing free hotel accommodations for health care workers in New York City, while World Central Kitchen is giving away “nourishing meals” to frontlines workers and vulnerable communities in need.

Dutch Bros Coffee, the largest privately held drive-thru coffee company in the U.S., is also pitching in by serving as #FirstRespondersFirst’s premiere corporate donor.

The Oregon-based company has a history of philanthropy and giving back. Each year, they give away over one million drinks and donate over $2 million to local communities and nonprofit organizations, according to the press release.

Their involvement with #FirstRespondersFirst is no exception, with Dutch Bros donating all of its April profits to the initiative, as well as giving an additional $1 million to help people impacted by the pandemic.

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“#FirstRespondersFirst is a really amazing initiative making a huge difference right now. We’re honored to help support this fund,” Dutch Bros CEO Travis Boersma said in a press release. “We started this business not just to sell coffee, but to impact our customers and communities in positive ways. We hope we can do that this April and be a light in these dark and difficult times.”

Celebrities like Shonda Rhimes, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Lopez, Alyssa Milano, Viola Davis and Olivia Wilde have also shown their support for the fund by posting about it on their respective social media accounts.

Those interested in making a donation can do so by texting FIRST to 50555 or through #FirstRespondersFirst’s website here.

As of Thursday afternoon, there have been at least 657,230 cases and 29,908 deaths attributed to coronavirus in the United States, according to the New York Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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