The philanthropic response to COVID-19 has been unprecedented. From investments in vaccines and cures, to community funds to provide food, to support for struggling businesses, the private sector has worked alongside government to mitigate the impact of this pandemic. In NYC, we have a long history of public-private partnerships that leverage the power and reach of government with private funds that are available rapidly and can be used with agility.
FPHNYC was founded in 2002 to help address the urgent health needs of the city after 9/11. Over the last twenty years, FPHNYC has become a vital partner to the Health Department and an essential part of the New York City public-private landscape.
What Public-Private Partnerships Offer in Times of Crisis
The Health Department is on the front lines of this pandemic, serving as the key source of information for clinical providers, government decision-makers and the public at large. They collect and analyze the best data available, and are in an ideal position to assess the needs of the City, recognize emerging trends, and identify gaps in service.
However as the coronavirus has tightened its hold on our city, the need for innovative and flexible funding has become paramount. While emergency funds are being made available from all levels of government, public funding is sometimes slow to arrive and has restrictions on spending.
In moments like this, public-private partnerships have the potential for significant impact by providing urgently needed and more flexible resources quickly. As the nonprofit partner to the Health Department, FPHNYC has been in the trenches providing support to the COVID-19 response since the beginning in the following ways:
- Rapid deployment of funds where needed most. As a facilitator of public-private partnerships, FPHNYC ensures that funds raised go to the City’s most urgent public health needs. Since the start of this pandemic, we’ve helped the Health Department increase staffing at Health Care facilities, make improvements to data collection systems, and support programs as they adapt to meet the needs of vulnerable New Yorkers.
- Launch new initiatives to meet new needs. In this unprecedented crisis, we need to do all we can to accelerate response efforts. FPHNYC is actively raising funds to support programs that the Health Department has adapted or created to meet new needs resulting from this pandemic through its Epidemics Fund.
Looking Ahead to Recovery
In the aftermath of this crisis, public-private partnerships will be more essential than ever as our city, and country, strive to recover. Public resources alone won’t be enough, especially as the economy struggles and will be stretched just to cover core services. Public-private partnerships will be needed to cover gaps, support innovation, test new ideas, and implement desperately needed programs.
COVID-19 has revealed serious shortcomings in our public health system preparedness and response. As a country, we need to rededicate ourselves to ensuring that there are enough resources to rebuild and modernize our public health infrastructure.
We need to be prepared for the next pandemic or public health emergency whether it is due to weather, terrorism or disease. We will all have to work together, public and private alike, to keep ourselves, our communities, and our country healthy, safe, and ready for whatever comes next.