Billionaire Paul G. Allen Pledges $100 Million To Fight Ebola

Published: Oct 24, 2014

Billionaire Paul G. Allen Pledges $100 Million To Fight Ebola

October 24, 2014

By Riley McDermid, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Billionaire philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen is stepping into the fray surrounding the global spread of the Ebola virus, saying this week that he will donate at least $100 million to help fight the disease through global regulatory agencies and various aid efforts.

Allen said he would spend put some of that money into funding the development and manufacture of two medevac containment units, which the U.S. State Department will use to safely evacuate medical professionals from West Africa. Allen will also be helping the World Health Organization improve its coordination of the logistics required to transport international aid workers.

"The Ebola virus is unlike any health crisis we have ever experienced and needs a response unlike anything we have ever seen," Allen said in a statement. "To effectively contain this outbreak and prevent it from becoming a global epidemic, we must pool our efforts to raise the funds, coordinate the resources and develop the creative solutions needed to combat this problem. I am committed to doing my part in tackling this crisis."

Allen has already donated $26.5 million to help fight Ebola, including $12.9 million to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $3.6 million to UNICEF, $2.8 million to the International Red Cross and $1.3 million to Doctors Without Borders.

His newest efforts will include the creation of the $2.5 million Ebola Medevac Fund, which will cover whatever insurance won’t after actual transportation costs are calculated. It will be paired with a matching grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

He said he also hopes to boost individual giving, by building a donation platform at TackleEbola.com. Donors will be allowed to choose which part of the aid effort to support and 100 percent of their donation will go directly to that particular cause.

For their part, global regulators appeared more than happy to accept whatever help—and money—Allen has to throw their way. "We thank Paul Allen and his foundation for their contribution on this crucial issue," said Andrew O'Brien, special representative for global partnerships at the U.S. Department of State.

"We hope that this sets a much needed example for what will be robust and rapid private sector leadership, working in partnership with the U.S. government. Mr. Allen's #TackleEbola campaign is providing an important catalyst to help us get medical responders to West Africa to fight Ebola at its epicenter,” said O’Brien. “His leadership is timely and greatly augments the work that the U.S. government, international organizations, NGOs, and others are doing on the ground every day."

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