March 25 update: Donor gives $170,000 for ventilators

Posted on Mar 25, 2020 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive
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A donor with the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region has made a lifesaving donation to area hospitals as they prepare to care for community members diagnosed with coronavirus. The anonymous donor gave more than $170,000 to Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital and ThedaCare for the purchase of much-needed ventilators.

“I started to cry,” said Chad Hershner, director of philanthropy for Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, when he received word from Ann Engelhard, vice president of donor services and gift planning at the Community Foundation. “I took a moment to regroup and I called Ann back. And then I cried again with Ann.”

“Learning that a donor was willing to step up in such a big way — and understood this was a critical need — well, it pulled at our hearts,” said Courtney Weiland, vice president, philanthropy at ThedaCare. “Our respiratory manager smiled when we shared the news with her. Philanthropic gifts are often talked about as ‘life-saving’ in many ways, but this gift will directly save lives. To have this donor join in ThedaCare’s preparedness with an act of such generosity touches all of us. It brings a sense of both action and impact.”

Both health care systems are still in need of donations of personal protective equipment including masks, hand sanitizer and other items. In addition, the Ascension and ThedaCare foundations are accepting financial contributions to support the needs of their associates and other key priority areas for their hospitals and clinics. To make a financial gift, please visit Ascension and ThedaCare.

Webinars available to learn about SBA loans
Thanks to a concerted effort by the State of Wisconsin and the U.S. Small Business Administration, Wisconsin small businesses and private nonprofits are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans to meet the needs of payroll, accounts payable and fixed debt payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. The loans are available for up to $2 million, with interest rates at 3.75 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for nonprofits.

To assist the business community with the loan program, Wisconsin’s SBA office is offering daily webinars to answer people’s questions. To sign up for a webinar, visit weda.org/covid-19-information-and-resources and scroll to SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance.

Law changes FMLA, medical leave acts
The Family First Coronavirus Act made changes to the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. The changes have direct implications for businesses.

As part of the new rules, employers with fewer than 500 employees — there are some exceptions — must provide paid leave at varying amounts and at varying levels, according to information pulled together by McClone Insurance in Menasha.

Here’s a look at what businesses can expect:

  • Employees need time off due to federal, state or local quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19, workers advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns or employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and awaiting medical diagnosis must be paid 100 percent of their wages for two weeks, up to $5,110 total.
  • Employees who take time off to care for an individual subject to quarantine from a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order or advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns should be paid for two weeks at 66.6 percent of their regular pay, up to $200 per day.
  • Employees under FMLA are entitled to the continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same conditions as if the employee had been continuously employed during the leave period.
  • Temporarily expands FMLA leave to employees who are unable to work or telework because they need to care for their child (under 18 years of age) if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency for the remainder of this calendar year.

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees could be exempt from the rules if paying for the required leave jeopardizes the viability of their business.

Sheboygan company switches to making disposable face shields
Franzen Graphics in Sheboygan is shifting its focus from print production to making disposable face shields to provide emergency and essential service personnel with the protective equipment necessary to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Franzen Graphics leaders decided to make the change after U.S. governors said they needed more personal protective equipment. The company began engineering on how to make disposable face shields in 10mm and 20mm clear plastic, Justin Webb, owner and president of Franzen Graphics, a Sun Graphics Media Company, said in a news release. Franzen has the capability to produce 75,000 face shields a week given material availability.

Job center services go online
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has closed its job centers to comply with Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home emergency order. Online and phone services will continue.

Individuals seeking to file for unemployment compensation can go online to apply the week they become unemployed. They will need to file a weekly claim each week they need benefits.

Click here to keep up-to-date on all of our COVID-19 news.