News | June 29

Life Science Cares Rallies Boston Biotech Companies to Raise $1.8 Million for COVID-19 Relief

Collective Member Organization Donates Final Round of Grants to Nonprofits

When the coronavirus hit Massachusetts in March, Life Science Cares, a collective organization that connects the life science industry with nonprofits to fight poverty, quickly launched a multi-faceted COVID-19 relief effort to help Greater Boston neighbors facing challenges during the crisis. The organization rallied 600 area biopharma executives and employees, from companies including Ironwood Pharmaceuticals and Syros Pharmaceuticals, to raise $1.8 million to be granted weekly to organizations that provide food, shelter and medical care. Thirty-three nonprofits have received between $5,000 and $125,000 each in relief grants. Grant distribution will continue through the summer until the fund is disbursed.

“As the pandemic continues to increase the barriers for residents, especially low-income individuals and families, to access basic needs, we as an industry with some of the brightest minds and most prosperous companies in the state had to take action,” says Sarah MacDonald, Life Science Cares Executive Director. “Even before the crisis, 21.6 percent of Boston residents lived in poverty. Now, there is an even greater need for our members to unite and leverage their time, treasure and talent to decrease inequities in our city.”

Founded in Boston in 2016, Life Science Cares was created as a platform for members of the life sciences industry to give back while also giving nonprofits the funds and volunteer power necessary to grow and innovate. This combination of connecting multi-year grants and volunteers to nonprofits that need both is the core value the organization brings as it works to decrease the ever-widening economic gap in communities.

On March 18, Life Science Cares created a COVID-19 Response Fund and began giving rolling grants to area nonprofits that are utilizing funds to pack grab & go meals for families, transform in-person mentoring programs into virtual learning opportunities and more. Grantees include: Rosie’s Place, Just-A-Start, Boston Health Care for the Homeless, CASPAR, Circle of Hope, College Bound Dorchester, Home for Little Wanderers, Household Goods, More Than Words, Waltham Fields Community Farm, ABCD, City Sprouts, Community Cooks, Dignity Matters, Madison Park Development Corporation, Project Bread, St. Francis House, The Wily Network, Cradles to Crayons, International Institute of New England, Hope & Comfort, Room to Grow, Tech Goes Home, Pine Street Inn,  About Fresh, Victory Programs, Girls Inc., Breakthrough Greater Boston, the LEAH Project, BUILD Boston and Project Hope.  

‘When working with our nonprofit partners, we work to listen and educate ourselves so that our members can best help them to sustain and scale the great work they are already doing,” says MacDonald. “When we launched our COVID-19 relief efforts, we looked at our portfolio of nonprofit partners to understand the greatest needs right now. And, we began to distribute grants and organize volunteer opportunities accordingly.”

Continuing to multiply its financial contributions with manpower, Life Science Cares partnered with local hospitals to recruit individuals with clinical and medical training and those who could help in non-clinical settings on the frontlines. And, the organization created virtual volunteer opportunities for individuals and families–from mentoring STEM students and rising college graduates to collecting food and clothing donations. The organization continues to leverage multifaceted partnerships with grantees to help ensure residents’ health and safety.

 “Ironwood has a long standing relationship with Life Science Cares and providing support and hope to those in need is part of our DNA—it’s at the core of who we are as people and as a leading Gastrointestinal healthcare company,” says Meredith Kaya, Vice President of Strategy, Investor Relations, and Corporate Communications at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals. “We know that every single one of us has been impacted by the pandemic, but some more than others.   We hope our donation will lend a much-needed helping hand to our friends and neighbors who are struggling during this ongoing health crisis and applaud the great work the LSC is doing to help those affected by COVID.”

Life Science Cares is a turnkey CSR program for the life science industry and a model through which other professional industries can leverage their time, talent and treasure to tackle society’s greatest social issues. The organization recently expanded into Philadelphia and plans to open affiliates on the West Coast in the next year. To contribute to the Life Science Cares COVID-19 Response Fund, visit http://lifesciencecares.org/get-involved/covid-response/.