By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
As Washingtonians still navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, personal protective equipment (PPE) remains a necessity that is sometimes inaccessible due to cost and availability. With the need for protective gear prevailing in the nation’s capital, the Rodham Institute donated thousands of PPE to Washington, D.C.’s former (affectionately known as forever) First Lady Cora Masters Barry, who is also the founder of the Recreation Wish List Committee and the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center (SETLC).
“The Rodham Institute’s commitment to leveling the playing field for the District’s most underserved communities, by always fighting for equity and access to health care, is greatly appreciated and much needed,” Barry said in a statement submitted to the AFRO. Founded in 2013, and spearheaded by Dr. Jehan “Gig” El-Bayoumi,” the Rodham Institute, was founded by former First Lady of the United States and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in honor of her late mother, and the organization has been a longtime partner and supporter of SETLC.
“The SETLC is the very first partner that the Rodham Institute had when it was established in 2013. Cora Masters Barry’s vision, leadership, love and dedication of her community makes her the ideal partner to serve the residents of Ward 8,” said El-Bayoumi of the Rodham Institute.
“I would like to thank Dr. El-Bayoumi and the Rodham Institute, for their generosity. Once again, the Institute has been consistent by ‘stepping up to the plate’ to provide much needed PPE and assistance to our community,” Barry said. “We are blessed to have them as partners,” the former First Lady later added.
With 15,000 masks and 12,550 different sizes of hand sanitizer, the Rodham Institute’s donation is the gift that keeps on giving. Barry decided to pay the donation forward by distributing the PPE to the District’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and Ward 8’s Congress Heights Community Training & Development Corporation (CHCTDC).
“On behalf of Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Residents, we are grateful for this generous offer of support from the Rodham Institute to the Recreation Wish List Committee, the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center and the Department of Parks and Recreation so we can continue to safely serve all eight wards during this pandemic,” DPR Director Delano Hunter said in a statement.
Donated PPE is definitely something that can go to good use in D.C.’s Ward 8. According to DCHealthMatters.org, Ward 8 residents experience poverty at a much higher rate than most Washingtonians. The median household income is $91,414 and yet the average in Ward 8 is $39,473. Further, in terms of coronavirus disparities, Ward 8 has seen the largest amount of COVID related deaths than any other Ward in the city.
“We are so appreciative to the Rodham Institute and to Mrs. Barry for highlighting the unique needs of the Congress Heights community for PPE,” said Founder and Chairman of CHCTFDC Monica Ray. “We are happy to serve as an additional tier for distribution, and plan to work with two charter schools in our community that serve our families: Community College Preparatory Academy and Cedar Tree Academy, as well as our adult trainees who are entering the workforce, many of whom are in public-facing (high risk) positions.”