Ebola fight fund opens at bank in La Jolla

To help with the headline-grabbing and heartache-inducing crisis of Ebola in West Africa, the Foundation For Women (FFW), a 501(c)3 non-profit, has set up a bank account in La Jolla where those interested can donate money to help those fighting the outbreak.

Focusing on Liberia, La Jolla resident and FFW Founder Deborah Lindholm, is spearheading the effort to get assistance to the African country. With guidance from friend and banker Jennifer Harter, a FFW account has been set up at the City National Bank (La Jolla branch), 800 Silverado St., Suite 100.

Harter said those wanting to donate can walk into the branch and contribute directly to the FFW Ebola Campaign account, or mail a check made out to Foundation For Women, with a memo indicating it is for the Ebola Campaign.

The account opened Sept. 9, and there is no deadline for giving. Lindholm explained a $20 donation (or increments thereof) will provide one family in Liberia with bleach and a bucket to help sanitize their hands (and hand sanitizer) to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“People who have contact with those with Ebola have to wash their hands with water and bleach to kill it because it is very contagious,” Lindholm said. “I would love for the community to do something and I think if people knew they had the option to do something that will help people directly on the ground, they would give.” Lindholm and FFW have worked to

support women in Liberia for almost eight years through microfinance. “We have given more than 10,000 loans, starting at $100, to women in more than 250 communities across Liberia, giving very poor women access to capital to create some income generating activity,” she said.

Through these women and others, she has been getting updates about the dire situation. Quoting James Dorbor Jallah of the Liberia Ebola Task Force, Lindholm said, “The virus is spreading at the speed of sound and international aid is coming at the speed of a snail.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cites the current outbreak as the worst in history and the first in West Africa. As of Aug. 31, the CDC reports 1,698 suspected and confirmed cases, 871 suspected case deaths, and 403 laboratory confirmed cases. The World Health Organization first announced the situation in March.

“While the world is figuring it out at the top level, we are figuring it out at the grassroots level here,” Lindholm said.