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FirstBank, Community First Foundation and El Pomar Foundation Join Forces to Help Colorado’s PPE Shortage

Bank and Foundation Partners Contribute $150,000 to 3-D Printing PPE Effort Make4Covid Well-Known Craft Spirit Distillery, Leopold Bros., Signs on to Help Make4Covid Deliver Sanitizer to Hospitals

Denver, Colo., April 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FirstBank, one of the nation’s largest privately held banks with a focus on “banking for good,” announced a $50,000 contribution that is being generously matched by Community First Foundation and El Pomar Foundation, to support the Make4Covid movement. The total $150,000 donation will help Make4Covid answer the ongoing need for critical personal protective equipment (PPE) as the coronavirus crisis stretches on.

Make4Covid, launched by several members of the Inworks program at CU Anschutz Medical Center, is a FirstBank customer and grassroots movement dedicated to using 3-D printing to create PPE for healthcare professionals. The effort unites technologists, educators, regulators and industry experts under a single mission: to design, manufacture, and distribute resources for healthcare workers.

“All of us have family members, friends, and neighbors who work on the front lines,” said Emily Robinson, COO, FirstBank. “Knowing there was a PPE shortage, it was never a question – we needed to do something to protect our healthcare workers and first responders. We’re thrilled we not only found out about Make4Covid, but could all rally together – FirstBank, Community First Foundation and El Pomar Foundation – to support their movement. It’s been inspiring to see what they’ve accomplished in a short time, and we’re hoping with this funding we can help Make4Covid deliver even more protective gear to hospitals in need.”

After just 21 days in operation, Make4Covid was able to provide over 9,000 pieces of equipment to healthcare professionals. With increased resources and greater support, the hope is that those numbers will soar.

“The support from FirstBank, Community First Foundation and El Pomar Foundation is monumental, and it’s enabling us to create and manufacture more equipment for hospitals. That’s what really matters,” says Lauren Hebert, Lead Organizer at Make4Covid. “We are especially grateful to FirstBank, who’s been instrumental in championing our cause and were helpful in getting additional partners onboard. This sort of collaboration represents the true meaning of community and is the spirit behind the Make4Covid movement.”

The group, which has been recognized by Governor Polis as a key organization to help Colorado’s health care crisis, is focused on serving Colorado hospitals, including 43 rural hospitals facing greater supply chain challenges.

“With Colorado’s shortage of adequate medical equipment, El Pomar Foundation is proud to partner with FirstBank and Community First Foundation to support the extraordinary efforts of Make4Covid. As a statewide funder, El Pomar Foundation is especially appreciative of Make4Covid’s commitment to produce and deliver supplies to healthcare workers all across the state, including those located in Colorado’s rural communities,” said Kyle Hybl, El Pomar Foundation President & CEO. “Make4Covid’s impact in just three weeks is truly remarkable, and we are grateful for the vital support they will continue to provide to healthcare professionals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Other Colorado organizations are stepping up to help fight the effects of the pandemic. For instance, FirstBank customer and well-known Colorado distiller, Leopold Bros., has pivoted their operation to make hand sanitizer -- another highly needed item -- for local emergency responders, hospitals and healthcare facilities. The family owned distillery and Make4Covid are now working together to ensure sanitizer could be included alongside PPE shipments to rural Colorado communities.

“We love seeing scrappy, cross-sector collaboration emerge during this crisis,” explained Kelly Dunkin, CEO and President of Community First Foundation. “Coloradoans are resilient and creative about finding solutions in our own backyard, and this serves as another example of how we get to work to support each other. As a community foundation, we are humbled and proud to support our healthcare heroes.”

While Make4Covid is currently manufacturing face shields, they are also designing and testing an N95 style mask and even ventilators to benefit hospitals in dire need of support. To find out how you can help, visit Make4Covid.co. To learn more about FirstBank or its response to the coronavirus, visit www.efirstbankblog.com/coronavirus.

About FirstBank

FirstBank began providing banking services in Colorado in 1963. Today, the bank maintains more than $20 billion in assets and operates more than 115 branch locations across Colorado, Arizona and California. FirstBank offers a variety of checking accounts, savings accounts, home equity loans, mortgages, and a full range of commercial banking services, including financing, treasury management and deposit accounts. Since 2000, FirstBank has been recognized as a leader in corporate philanthropy, contributing more than $65 million and thousands of volunteer hours to charitable organizations. The company is also unique in that a large portion of its stock is owned by management and employees, giving all employees a financial stake in the bank’s success through its Employee Stock Ownership Program. For more information, visit www.efirstbank.com.

About Make4Covid

Make4Covid, a Public Benefit Limited Cooperative Association, is a Colorado-based remotely-collaborative community of makers, designers, industry experts, and healthcare professionals working together to design and manufacture equipment for doctors, nurses, and first responders who are seeking assistance with personal protective equipment (PPE) in light of predicted shortfalls. Working alongside medical professionals, regulators, and experts, the Make4Covid community is designing, testing, and manufacturing medical and protective equipment to address this critical need.

About Community First Foundation

Since 1975, Community First Foundation has been helping generous donors and innovative nonprofits come together to improve the quality of life and create positive change in Jefferson County, the Denver metropolitan area and beyond. We are proud to use our energy, leadership and trusted stewardship of financial resources to energize giving across our state, strengthen nonprofits, support donors and find new ways to address community needs.

About El Pomar Foundation

El Pomar Foundation is one of the largest and oldest private foundations in Colorado. El Pomar contributes approximately $22 million annually through grants and community stewardship programs to support Colorado nonprofit organizations involved in health, human services, education, arts and humanities, and civic and community initiatives. On March 11, El Pomar Foundation Trustees established the Colorado Assistance Fund, a $1 million fund providing immediate aid in areas affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. To date, more than $650,000 has been distributed to nonprofits and government entities across the state that are providing emergency services, meeting basic human needs and supporting access to appropriate healthcare. Because grants are made only to organizations nominated by El Pomar regional council members or public health departments, El Pomar is not accepting applications to the Colorado Assistance Fund.Spencer and Julie Penrose founded El Pomar in 1937. To learn more about El Pomar Foundation please go to www.elpomar.org.

Chandra Brin
FirstBank
303-2351402
chandra.brin@efirstbank.com