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October 27, 2020
MasksOn Wins $100K Grant to Help Frontline Health Workers
Masks On

September 17, 2020 — MasksOn, a Boston-based nonprofit that is mass producing face shields for medical purposes for clinicians who do not have access to FDA cleared equipment, recently was awarded a $100,000 grant to advance its work to help frontline health workers.

The grant was one of 21 awarded from the Booz Allen Foundation Innovation Fund to organizations nationwide, out of 3,000 applications, sharing nearly $1 million, with only grantees receiving $100,000 each.

The winners selected to receive grant funding—ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 per project—are working to develop new solutions, systems, technologies and approaches that help build lasting community resilience by protecting vulnerable populations and frontline workers or support the safe return to work.

“Our diverse set of winning teams displayed creativity, innovative thought and best-in-class ability to create impact for our most vulnerable populations affected by the pandemic,” said John M. Murdock, President and co-founding board member of the Booz Allen Foundation. “We asked applicants to provide their best and brightest ideas in an unprecedented time, and these award recipients delivered a wide range of solutions that will not only change the world, but also provide hope.”

MasksOn was formed earlier this year by a group of physicians as a way to quickly and safely create and donate emergency personal protective equipment to health care works with the greatest need during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Frontline medical professionals caring for COVID-19 patients are at extremely high-risk of exposure,” said co-founder Alexander Stone, an anesthesiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, quoted in EHS Today. "We need to do everything we can to keep them safe, so they can continue providing the care that so many need."

By the end of July, MasksOn had manufactured and distributed 25,000 reusable mask kits for high exposure clinical procedures, resulting one million protected days for frontline health workers.

Initially, MasksOn had hoped 3D printers could be used to adapt full-face snorkeling masks for medical use. When that proved insufficient, it turned to a team of designers across Fikst Product Development in Woburn and OnShape in Boston to rapidly develop an injection molded design. Massachusetts-based Lightspeed Manufacturing in Haverhill assembled and shipped the kits.

“Our donors have been more than generous, contributing $2.3 million that has gone directly into acquiring, modifying, and shipping these kits,” said co-founder Jacqueline Boehme, also an anesthesiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

According to MasksOn, to date it has raised $2.33 million and shipped 32,603 masks that provide 2.31 million days of protection.

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