Pandemic Response

Pandemic Response Pandemic Response
 
Paul’s commitment to science and philanthropy guided his response to several global health crises that occurred during, and after, his lifetime.  
Community engagement by the World Health Organization in Beni, DRC.
An Ebola survivor is celebrated in Liberia.
 
Community engagement by the World Health Organization in Beni, DRC.
An Ebola survivor is celebrated in Liberia.
When news of an Ebola outbreak first started coming out of West Africa in the summer of 2014, Paul monitored developments daily. He acted quickly, with both urgency and optimism, to respond to an outbreak that would become the largest in history. It devastated the region between 2013 and 2016 and left 22,000 children orphaned while it simultaneously destroyed local economies and infrastructure. Paul made the single, largest private donation to the West Africa Ebola response — a $100 million donation to support a collaborative effort between international governments, humanitarian organizations, local health care workers, and other medical groups. He also wrote an impassioned op-ed in USA Today where he said, “When I first saw news of the Ebola breakout, I knew we needed to respond with urgency and strength, as Ebola would put the already fragile health care infrastructure in Africa under tremendous pressure.”  

Paul’s Ebola responses changed the trajectory of this vicious disease. He addressed immediate needs by coordinating the delivery of critical supplies while at the same time supporting health care workers by launching important education and awareness campaigns both in West Africa and abroad. And, when American medical workers were struggling with their own safety abroad, he partnered with the US State Department to build two portable medevac units and created a fund to cover the costs of evacuation not covered by medical workers’ insurance. Here in the US, he also launched Tackle Ebola, a nationwide public awareness campaign that made sure the ongoing crisis wasn’t forgotten in the churn of our 24-hour news cycle. Tackle Ebola also included a website that provided a donation mechanism for those wanting to make smaller contributions to fund projects like the creation of 6,000 hand-washing stations and the purchase of much-needed beds for patients. 
Paul speaking at the Ebola Innovation Summit.
 
Paul speaking at the Ebola Innovation Summit.
“I’ve been interested in solving how Ebola is transmitted since 2009 when I first funded research to better understand this vicious disease. When I saw the early data around the Ebola outbreak in West Africa last year, I knew we were potentially facing a global health crisis unlike anything we had ever seen. I felt compelled to act and try to swiftly address some of the most critical needs in our response.”
— Paul G. Allen, Ebola Innovation Summit Remarks, 2015
A year after the initial outbreak, Paul awarded an additional $11 million in grants to organizations that were taking the lead in developing innovative approaches to disrupt the cyclical nature of epidemics and to shorten crisis response times. Thankfully, in January of 2016, the World Health Organization declared West Africa free of the Ebola virus, which marked an end to the outbreak that began more than two years earlier. Paul was grateful to have played a part in helping achieve that goal and quickly took advantage of what he learned later that same year when he funded grants in 2016 to address the Zika outbreak in Brazil. These contributions supported the global Red Cross network’s ability to prevent the spread of Zika and identify new ways of addressing present and future health emergencies. 
Garmai Sumo, the subject of the Oscar nominated short documentary "Body Team 12."
 
Garmai Sumo, the subject of the Oscar nominated short documentary "Body Team 12."
In addition to his pragmatic, philanthropic actions, Paul’s production company, Vulcan Productions, also partnered with director David Darg and RYOT films to produce a documentary about Ebola, Body Team 12,  which was nominated for an Oscar. The movie told the story through the eyes of Garmai Sumo, the only female member of the Liberian Red Cross tasked with collecting dead bodies during the height of the Ebola outbreak. The film spotlights the heartbreaking, yet incredibly important, lifesaving work of removing corpses from the homes of loved ones to halt transmission of the disease, while also acknowledging important cultural issues of stigma around death. 
After Paul’s passing, in early 2019 the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation continued Paul’s commitment to tackling Ebola by funding a series of grants that supported emergency operations centers and community mobilization in response to an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Because of the lack of physical security and poor infrastructure in the DRC, the outbreak became the second largest ever, and the largest in the DRC, where Ebola is endemic. In addition, the foundation funded research into an Ebola vaccine, the first of which was approved by the FDA in December of 2019 – another important public health tool in the fight against this deadly virus. 
 
Paul’s passionate commitment to pandemic response continues even though he’s no longer with us. He was insistent that we build on what was learned from the Ebola epidemic to prepare for future crises. And so, when the COVID-19 outbreak occurred, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation funded more than $4M in community grants all around the Pacific Northwest. This wide-ranging support provided testing and delivering vaccines to underserved populations, funded initiatives in underserved communities (including the LGBTQIA+ and Native American communities), financed a range of COVID research at the University of Washington’s Virology Lab, and made possible research into immune response at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (in partnership with the Allen Institute).  
 
Front line healthcare workers outside of Harborview Medical Center.
Food distribution at Lumen Field, addressing food access during the pandemic in 2020.
 
Front line healthcare workers outside of Harborview Medical Center.
Food distribution at Lumen Field, addressing food access during the pandemic in 2020.
Additional
Stories
Great Elephant Census
Exploration
Great Elephant
Census
The Great Elephant Census was a massive undertaking to survey the remaining savanna elephants across the African continent. Results of this survey shocked the world into action.
Space
Exploration
Space
 
Paul pursued making space more accessible in ways that would fuel space innovation — including SpaceShipOne, the Allen Telescope Array, and Stratolaunch, the world's largest airplane by wingspan.
Seattle Seahawks
Pacific Northwest
Seahawks
 
Paul purchased the Seattle Seahawks NFL franchise in 1997, and since then the team has gone on to make three Super Bowl appearances.
Microsoft
Futurist
Microsoft
 
Paul's name is, of course, synonymous with Microsoft, the company he co-founded with his friend Bill Gates, which changed the trajectory of modern computing.
MoPOP
Creativity
MoPOP
 
The Museum of Pop Culture opened in 2000 and over the years evolved into a hands-on museum experience celebrating all forms of popular culture and creative expression.