RESOLVE Expands Efforts to Get PPE to Communities in Need

In the months leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election, RESOLVE designed and launched Gear Up to VoteSafe, a non-partisan initiative to get personal protective equipment (PPE) into the hands of election officials, poll workers, and volunteers. We quickly partnered with VoteSafe and Mission for Masks to launch Gear Up to VoteSafe in September 2020 amidst growing concern that the nearly one million people in the U.S. who serve as election officials and poll workers would not have access to sufficient PPE to keep them safe while providing an essential public service. Critical challenges included, among other things, a lack of resourcing for underserved communities, lack of market access due to small-volume needs, political and bureaucratic bottlenecks, and supply chain shortages.

Thanks to the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and private citizens – notably RESOLVE partners Jess Jacobs and Mary Kate Perry – as well as numerous in-kind donors, the Gear Up to VoteSafe team was able to procure and distribute over $500,000 of PPE to voters and voting center workers in fourteen states across the country within just a few weeks. Additional PPE was provided to voting centers in Atlanta for early voting in the Georgia Senate runoff election. In essence, we were able to turn each donated dollar into more than $5 worth of donated PPE, including 11,000 face shields, 10,000 N95s respirators, 130,000 facemasks, 25,000 pairs of nitrile gloves, and 8,000 gallons of sanitizer, among other items. We are grateful to all who joined our network, donated funds and PPE, and supported the mission of Gear Up to VoteSafe.

Gear Up to VoteSafe also developed and distributed safe voting guidance to election officials, volunteers, and voters across the country. The guidance was compiled by our Open Source Medical Supplies team and made available in English and in Spanish. All Gear Up to VoteSafe partners championed the message that, with the use of appropriate PPE and adherence to safety protocols, it is possible to safely vote in-person during a pandemic. Record levels of voter turnout across the country, even as the pandemic heightened, proved the value of Gear Up to VoteSafe.

Building on the success of Gear Up to VoteSafe, we are now working on forward-leaning strategies to provide essential tools and equipment to protect more people – particularly those unable to navigate the complex marketplace to secure PPE themselves – as the pandemic intensifies. We are poised to launch ImpactPPE, a broader initiative that aims to promote equity in the PPE marketplace by putting PPE into the hands of essential workers and communities who need it but are struggling to access it. In partnership with our new, innovative network of mission-motivated and commercial PPE suppliers, ImpactPPE will provide reliable access to high quality and affordable PPE to other sectors and communities that are excluded from existing bulk-purchase supply channels.

RESOLVE is recruiting partners and suppliers and is currently accepting donated PPE, in-kind support, donations, and program related investments. Please contact Richard Schroeder if you know of a community in need of PPE and/or if you are interested in supporting or joining our network of partners and suppliers. Gear Up to VoteSafe reinforced that innovation, collaboration, and motivation are a potent combination – help us expand this effort to protect those in need!

Beth Weaver
January 25, 2021

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