Contributions from more than 2000 large and small donors make numerous research projects at Goethe University and Frankfurt University Hospital on overcoming the pandemic.

A short ten months after Goethe University and Frankfurt University Hospital first called for donations, the Goethe Coronavirus Fund has passed the targeted 5 million euro mark. The idea of the Goethe Coronavirus Fund came about in the first days of the pandemic: researchers require immediate and unbureaucratic support in order to make their contribution to overcoming the coronavirus crisis. More than 2000 private individuals, foundations and companies have meanwhile supported the goal of joining forces and providing competent help.

“Making a donation to research helped me overcome a feeling of helplessness during the first days of the coronavirus crisis,” says Raina Jockers, one of the more than 2000 donors for the Goethe Coronavirus Fund, explaining her motivation. The feelings of the Goethe University graduate are undoubtedly shared by many. The majority of donors contributed between 10 and 100 euros to the fund. The smallest donation came from the donation of bonus points from the “payback” programme and amounted to 2 cents; the largest was almost one million euros. Eight donors gave sums of more than 100,000 euros.

Using the non-profit online fundraising platform betterplace.org for the first time, the university’s call for donations reached even beyond Frankfurt citizens and foundations and companies from the Rhine-Main area, with donations coming in from Hamburg, Munich and even the USA. The fundraising platform also reported regularly on the work of the scientists, which may have motivated some donors to stick with it: one anonymous donor contributed 20 euros to the fund every month.

“In the pandemic, we wanted to help with what we do best: with our research,” says Professor Manfred Schubert-Zsilavecz, Goethe University Vice President. “So we simply jumped in at the deep end with our fundraising campaign and set ourselves an ambitious target: 5 million euros in donations. The fact that we have reached the 5 million euro mark in less than a year after our first call for donations makes us deeply grateful. Many private donors, as well as foundations and companies have been extremely generous. They funded research that helps us all,  keeping others in mind during this pandemic. This should really encourage us for the long road ahead.”

The Goethe Coronavirus Fund provided researchers at Goethe University and Frankfurt University Hospital with start-up support. Many of them have in the meantime raised additional funds for research having to do with SARS-CoV-2. The virologist Professor Sandra Ciesek and the infectologist Professor Maria Vehreschild, for example, are today part of the EU-funded CARE Consortium. Sandra Ciesek’s successes in drug research have made her one of the most prominent coronavirus researchers in Germany. Maria Vehreschild was one of the first to systematically collect clinical data and samples from COVID-19 patients and supplied her samples to vaccine and drug researchers throughout Germany; in the meantime, her database has been merged into a Germany-wide biobank.

But researchers from the social sciences and humanities have also profited from the Goethe Coronavirus Fund. More than 40 projects are now being funded – including the coronavirus crisis hotline, and studies by psychologist Professor Ulrich Stagnier on the psychological consequences of the pandemic.

The latest project supported by the Coronavirus Fund is dedicated to the work situation of healthcare workers and doctors in COVID-19 care in Hessian hospitals who are under particular strain. The cooperation project of the University Hospital Frankfurt and the Protestant University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt first examines the effects on the employees. The results will be used to make recommendations for managers and healthcare workers, as well as concrete options for workplace health promotion. The evaluation of the first sub-study of the project is currently underway.

Further donations possible at:
https://www.goethe-corona-fonds.betterplace.org and
through the donation account: Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen
IBAN: DE95 5005 0000 0001 0064 10
Reason for payment: Goethe-Corona-Fonds