February 17, 2020
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Millions of face masks headed to China thanks to Bush foundation effort
In less than a month after its formation, the US-China Coronavirus Action Network (US-China CAN), initiated by the George H. W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations (the Bush China Foundation) in the last week of January, is producing concrete results to help China combat the novel coronavirus.
Working with a private-sector partner, Asia and America Consultants, the US-China CAN facilitated the procurement and shipment of 550,000 US-produced medical-grade surgical masks to the Beijing and Chengdu governments for distribution within the first week.
Approached by the US-China Business Council, the network united different forces in securing 2 million masks to donate as an overt gesture of goodwill and support by the US business community to China last week.
“There is a Chinese saying: ‘feng yu tong zhou’ — ‘wind and rain, we all are in the same boat,’” said David Firestein, president and CEO of the Bush China Foundation. “This is exactly how we see the present crisis: We are all in this together. We at the Bush China Foundation will do everything we can to help our Chinese friends cope with the challenges posed by this virus.”
“Working to help fight and defeat COVID-19 is going to be our foundation’s top priority for as long as it’s necessary and as long as we can add value in helping China cope with this public health crisis,” Firestein continued.
Robbin Goodman, director of business programs and corporate affairs at the Bush China Foundation, is the primary organizer of US-China CAN.
“It’s difficult to pin down the exact number of people and organizations involved because the way we built the network as quickly and effectively as possible was by tapping into and linking a diverse group of previously isolated existing networks. Roughly within the first 24 hours, 48 hours, of the initiative, we reached over 1,000 contacts worldwide. Many responded and are actively working with us,” Goodman said.
The network includes large corporation, small businesses, nonprofit organizations and individual volunteers across the world, according to Goodman, and he said the list is growing daily.