1. Is my donation tax-deductible?
Not yet. We're a pending nonprofit corporation. It takes around 35 days for a California application to be processed and up to a year for the IRS to give its nod. Right now we're focused on having the right hearts in the matter and sharp minds in the game. Hopefully by the time this whole "coronavirus thing" is over, we can offer our benefactors tax deductions. I personally put forth a great deal of my savings (and also my personal credit on the line) in order to make this happen, with no intention of ever recouping funds or recognition. I feel it is my moral and social obligation to do everything in my power to give back to the community that's been by my side in sickness and in health. As a teenager I was diagnosed with scleroderma; nurses and doctors gave me strength when my body disempowered me. Their selfless dedication has played a role in helping me achieve remission. It is I who is indebted to the HCP family.
2. Where is my money going to? Why do you need my help if you already secured a supply chain?
Now that I have established a supply chain with an FDA-registered operator, it takes about 1 week for shipments from China to ready US soil. From there, I wait another week for U.S. customs clearance. Generally, it takes about 24-48 hours between time of receipt of requests to shipping. And then another 2 days to arrive at the destination. So we're looking at around a 3-week cycle. Without externally sourced funds, my good samaritan project to relieve HCPs of the burden of working while unprotected will not continue. It takes $9,850 per two weeks to keep this going ($5,150 for 10,000 masks, $2,300 in expedited shipping, $900 in web/database management maintenance, and $1,500 in research for fielding options in supply chain opportunities to ensure we don't hit critical fail points). We are all volunteers here from various backgrounds (advocacy, tech, medicine) working around the clock to make this happen.
3. Why aren’t you simply handing off your supply chain to the hospital or government? Why should it be my responsibility to help in this public health emergency?
Big potential vetted suppliers get handed up the chain, either to county/state officials or to hospitals. Going top down is hard though, so dissemination to HCPs will be slow this way--but vital longterm. You're going to wait up to 20 weeks for your government check to clear (remember the $2 trillion dollar relief package?). Do you think HCPs can wait that long for their relief package of masks?
We are not a supplier or a middle-man. We don't sell anything nor do we ever intend to (most of us hope to go back to our day jobs and binge-watching Neflix after this). We're just a blitz volunteer relief effort for HCPs/local community-level hospitals in need.
4. What’s your timeline for this project? Is your model sustainable? Will it generate returns?
American people are already suffering financially. How can you expect us to foot a bill to support nurses and doctors? That’s the government’s job!
If you're one of the investors we courted, know that we're not expecting to hit double-digit return on investments. If it makes you feel better (to traverse in groups), we're partnering with Lashify, Momentus.Space, and some other Californian companies to help give this project wings (literally? figuratively?). Also, think about it this way: if too many HCPs in the country go down for the count, the pandemic will ravage American families from all walks of life unchecked. The economy will tank further. Jobs will be lost. Consumer confidence will be, well, I'm not an economist or financier. Here's what we do know: There are 18.9 million healthcare providers, 2 million police and firefighters, and 307.3 million civilians in this country. For a quick and dirty calculation, if healthcare providers ideally switched their masks out every 4 hours (and worked no more than 16 hours daily), police and firefighters switched their masks out daily, and civilians switched their masks out weekly -- our national demand for masks would be 121.5 million masks daily. Ponder the unlikely possibility if the top mask producer -- China -- handed over its entire supplies to us. This would result in a 21.5 million mask deficit (5 times the population of US physicians would risk working while unprotected). If you think it's a worthy cause to protect our frontline and last life line against COVID-19, then you're already a supporter of what we're doing.