New funds will support students, researchers and caregivers facing COVID-19 challenges

Aerial photo of V C U's medical campus.
Two new funds that launched this week will help Virginia CommonwealthUniversity respond to the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two new funds that launched this week will help Virginia Commonwealth University respond to the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will support both the students who are learning in a dramatically new academic climate and the caregivers and researchers of VCU Health who are providing services to patients and seeking solutions to the outbreak of the virus. 

The VCU COVID-19 Response Fund provides resources to the researchers and caregivers working around the clock to fight the pandemic, while the VCU Student Life and Learning Fund will help students as they navigate an array of challenges created by the outbreak, as well as other circumstances that could arise. The funds offer an opportunity for alumni and other donors to support VCU’s efforts to confront the difficult issues COVID-19 is creating for the populations the university and health system serve. 

“We want every member of the VCU and VCU Health community to feel safe and cared for during these difficult times,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “It’s important to know that, while we may be separated physically, we are still here for one another and for those we serve. We are continuing to invest in each other and in our great mission of changing the world by making it better for everyone.”

A message to VCU Alumni and Donors from Dr. Michael Rao

The VCU COVID-19 Response Fund, administered by the Office of the Senior Vice President for VCU Health Sciences and CEO of the VCU Health System, supports VCU’s Central Virginia COVID-19 Command Center, medical research and clinical care efforts. 

On the research front, the gifts to the fund support investigations into new technologies to test for and diagnose the virus and into new and existing therapies to treat it. The fund also provides financial assistance to create lab testing kits. In clinical care, the fund helps cover the financial and material needs of caregivers and patients and supports the training of frontline health workers in the U.S. and abroad to respond to the pandemic. In addition, gifts to the fund support emergency services for patients, screenings based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health, and full-function treatment rooms for pediatric care.

The VCU Student Life and Learning Fund, which is administered by the Office of the Provost, provides unrestricted dollars to support the most pressing needs of students to enrich their lives and learning experiences. 

Gifts to the fund provide support to students who need emergency assistance for travel, internet access, housing and other needs. It also helps cover student costs, including equipment, online resources, books and supplies, while offering support for conference and experiential learning opportunities. Finally, the fund provides tuition relief, academic and career advising, and internship support efforts. 

For more information about the funds and to donate, visit

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