Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, through the David A. Tepper Foundation, this week donated $2.65 million to help the local community in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In addition, the Foundation is supporting relief efforts in other parts of the country.
The local charitable donations were announced on Thursday and Friday to the COVID-19 Response Fund (launched by Foundation For the Carolinas and United Way of Central Carolinas), the Atrium Health Foundation, the Novant Health Foundation and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Foundation.
"These are difficult times, and we are all trying to do our part to help those in need," Tepper said.
COVID-19 Response Fund
Thursday afternoon, the Tepper Foundation made a donation of $1 million to the COVID-19 Response Fund. The fund, launched March 16 by Foundation for the Carolinas and United Way of Central Carolinas, is a community-wide effort to assist those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The fund has already collected more than $7.8 million in donations in just four days.
"David Tepper has emerged as one of our most influential leaders and a champion in the philanthropic field," said Foundation for the Carolinas President and CEO Michael Marsicano. "This generous gift is an expression of his heartfelt commitment to the well-being of our citizens. Now is the time for us all to come together to help one another."
The fund supports a range of nonprofit organizations assisting members of the community, particularly those most vulnerable. Donations have come from various sectors: corporations, local governments, individual philanthropists and foundations.
The fund is administered through a partnership between Foundation for the Carolinas and United Way of Central Carolinas, in close coordination with the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Grants will be awarded by an advisory group of community members and will be open to any agency that meets the eligibility criteria. The advisory committee may elect to make grants directly to organizations based upon the urgency of the need or through a competitive grant-making process.
Atrium Health & Novant Health
Also Thursday, Atrium Health and Novant Health jointly announced a donation by the Tepper Foundation in the amount of $1 million, with Atrium Health Foundation receiving $650,000, and Novant Health Foundation receiving $350,000.
The donations will be used across the Carolinas to support efforts surrounding COVID-19. These funds will be distributed by each system's foundation.
The $650,000 gift to Atrium will be directed to the newly established Atrium Health Essential Needs Fund. The Atrium Health Essential Needs Fund has been established to support Atrium Health's response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and future essential needs, as identified by the Foundation and Atrium Health.
"During these unprecedented times, it's uplifting to have generous donors like David Tepper step forward to ensure that our community has the very best healthcare services possible," said Armando Chardiet, president of Atrium Health Foundation. "We're all in this together and we're extremely thankful for those in our community coming together during times like this."
The $350,000 gift to Novant will be distributed by the Novant Health foundations in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Thomasville, Rowan and Brunswick in a manner that is still being determined.
"I'm grateful that the David Tepper Charitable Foundation is providing funding to support the ongoing delivery of healthcare during this pandemic," said Ann Caulkins, senior vice president of Novant Health Foundations. "This truly is a time of everyone working together for our communities," she added.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Foundation
On Friday, Tepper's foundation partnered with the Belk Endowment and the David Belk Cannon Foundation on a $1 million gift to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Foundation's COVID-19 Relief Fund. The gift will be used to purchase 6,000 mobile hotspots with six months of prepaid internet services for students without access to home connectivity.
The Tepper Foundation contributed a gift of $650,000. The Belk Endowment is providing $250,000 and the David Belk Cannon Foundation is contributing $100,000.
The CMS Foundation launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund on Monday to meet the critical needs of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' students and families while schools are closed due to the coronavirus. Ensuring students had internet connectivity to access online learning opportunities was identified as an immediate need. The CMS Foundation partnered with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and local nonprofit Eliminate the Digital Divide (E2D) to secure a deal for the mobile hotspots and prepaid service.
"Today's gift is an inspiring example of what can happen when groups come together. We know that this gift and every single donation from our community will help us address critical needs in our school district at this unprecedented time," said CMS Foundation Executive Director Sonja Gantt.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools serves more than 148,000 students and is the second-largest school district in North Carolina. The district allowed students in fourth through twelfth grade to take home the laptops they use in school.
"We all understand that internet access is no longer a luxury. It is essential," said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Winston. "This gift addresses an equity issue in our community, and I am truly grateful to these three organizations for leading the way in this time of crisis and helping us meet this need. Their generosity will have a meaningful impact on our students."
The CMS Foundation is the nonprofit partner for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. In this role, the foundation raises money to support the district's highest strategic priorities and increase opportunities for its students and educators. Additional contributions to the foundation's COVID-19 Relief Fund will help meet other critical needs for CMS students and families as response tactics are developed.