Joel Embiid Partners with Sixers Ownership to Donate $1.3 Million to Penn Medicine for Coronavirus Research

Penn Live Patriot News
By Daniel Gallen
April 3, 2020

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid and Sixers owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer are donating $1.3 million to Penn Medicine amid the coronavirus pandemic, the hospital announced Friday.

According to a release, the donation “establish[es] a funding campaign for COVID-19 antibody testing of front line health care workers.”

“The pledge from Embiid, Harris and Blitzer will provide a much-needed boost for efforts to quickly identify health care workers who may have immunity to the new virus,” the release states.

“During this pandemic, many doctors and nurses are working like soldiers on the front lines of a war and they need to be provided with as much armor as possible in this battle,” Embiid said in the release. “COVID-19 antibody testing can help Philadelphia health care workers at this critical time, and we need to do everything possible to help those heroes who are putting their lives at risk to help us.”

Penn Medicine will use the donation toward experimental tests to determine if someone has ever had the virus, which could identify individuals who have immunity. Penn Medicine can now test 1,000 health care workers in the area, according to the release, and researchers hope that testing can be expanded with more donations.

It’s a positive development from the Sixers after a misstep early in the coronavirus pandemic. After Sixers ownership — the group also owns the NHL’s New Jersey Devils — asked employees making more than $50,000 to take pay cuts up to 20%, Embiid announced he was donating $500,000 toward health and medical relief, plus he would put a to-be-determined amount toward helping team employees impacted by the pay cuts.

Soon after, Harris — who is worth $4 billion, according to Forbes — apologized and reversed course.

Last week, Michael Rubin, another Sixers owner, announced that his company Fanatics would stop manufacturing jerseys for Major League Baseball and shift production toward making gowns and facemasks for health care workers.

Now, Harris and Blitzer, who is worth more than $1 billion, according to Forbes, are putting their money toward research in the city.

“The only way for us to get through this terrible global crisis is to ensure a safe work environment for health care professionals and ultimately find a treatment for COVID-19,” Harris said in the Penn Medicine release. “We are very proud to partner with the incredible team at Penn Medicine, who are tirelessly working towards this by identifying immunity in our brave doctors and nurses. Joel has been a leader in highlighting the urgent need for this kind of testing—David and I thank him for his leadership in this area and are excited to join forces with him. Our medical workers are on the frontlines of this crisis, have been hit hardest by it and need all the help and support we can give them. We have rough days ahead, but with collective action like this, together we will make it through.”

Originally Published on Penn Live Patriot News.