Community Partnership During COVID-19

In the midst of COVID-19, and all of the disruption it has brought to nonprofits not just in West Michigan but around the world, there have also been many moments of sweetness and light. 

Exalta Health has seen that over and over again in recent weeks. 

Though it is seeing very few patients at its clinic on Division Avenue South, it is calling them on a regular basis and providing tele-health when appropriate. One unexpected blessing in this process has been the many patients who have noted that they are praying for Exalta Health!  

In the words of Exalta Health Medical Director Dr. Laura VanderMolen: “What a blessing that the Exalta Health community can support each other in prayer as the body of believers.” 

Another blessing has been the ways in which the region’s for-profit community has rallied around its nonprofit colleagues. 

Long time volunteer, Jean Craig

In the span of one week, Exalta Health received a generous donation of almost 100 bottles of hand sanitizer from Perrigo for patients and another equally generous donation of 250 masks from Steelcase for staff and patients. In both cases the donations resulted because of connections between an Exalta Health employee and key personnel at the donating companies. 

The organization also received almost 100 masks from its cadre of volunteers, people who used to come to the clinic as doctors, nurses, dentists, fix-it specialists and more, but have been (temporarily) sidelined by Covid-19. Those masks also will benefit staff and patients. 

For new Exalta Health Advancement Director Sandra Muthyala, who began her work on April 6, the ways in which people have supported the organization during Covid-19 has been gratifying. 

“We have never stopped caring for our patients during this Stay Home, Stay Safe time in Michigan,” she said, “even though we aren’t seeing them in person like we used to. But it’s been so powerful to see the ways in which others have walked alongside us to care for our patients and for our staff. Our volunteers are amazing. We always knew that. But local corporations have been amazing too. We have been blessed.” 

For their part, leaders at both Perrigo and Steelcase can’t think of anything better than supporting nonprofits in times of trouble. 

Said Perrigo President and CEO Murray S. Kessler: “We have a special responsibility to do everything in our power to assist those in need. I am extremely proud of our front-line manufacturing employees, who have been working around the clock to support consumers, patients and hospitals at this imperative time.” 

Perrigo has its North American headquarters in Allegan, just south of Grand Rapids, and its donation to Exalta Health was part of a project that saw it give away 500,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. 

Photo courtesy of Steelcase, Inc.

Motivations for Steelcase were equally honorable.

“At Steelcase, we were eager to design, create and make the necessary personal protective equipment for our local health care organizations like Exalta Health,” said Rob Heitmeier, Steelcase vice president, Vertical Markets and Materials. “Our teams are rallying around this effort while continuing to seek out ways to serve our community’s essential needs.”