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Masks For Hope Cleveland: COVID-19 PPE Fund

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“We have to start knitting masks. My director of health just emailed the entire staff.”

These are the worst words I have ever heard from a close friend working at one of Cleveland’s top hospitals. The reality is - the situation is getting worse. Our hospitals and our healthcare workers are being exposed to the Coronavirus in efforts to help our community overcome it. The necessary supplies to prevent exposure are limited, hard to procure and an increasing global demand has led to price volatility - leaving healthcare facilities with difficulties in getting the necessary supplies. Additional bureaucracy and policies also play a role in slowing the process of procuring these supplies. We have to take things into our hands.

Ohio is facing a drastic shortage of medical supplies.

The individuals fighting in the frontlines might be your family members, your friends or someone you have never met, but they are risking their lives to protect our community. And now, they need us the most.

In Washington, doctors are running on a single mask a day (US News ). The CDC has even drastically relaxed their recommendations and provided instructions on how to REUSE and EXTEND the life of N95 respirators, allowing for multiple encounters with patients (CDC ). In New York City, things are getting worse every day - hundreds of healthcare workers have been infected by the Coronavirus and the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene even issued a new guideline: “Health care workers who have been exposed to the virus should not be tested if they don’t have symptoms” (Buzzfeed ). “The sky is falling”, a doctor in the New York Times was quoted (NYTimes ). Other cities across the US are also being affected.

As Ohioans, we must act now and help our healthcare worker in Cleveland receive the supplies they need. Every penny you donate can help save a life.

The sky is falling. We must prevent the downfall of our local clinics and hospitals. If Cleveland falls to the Coronavirus - the city where the best hospitals in the nation reside -  where does our hope lie in overcoming this crisis?.

When you join us in this fight, you are not just fighting to defeat the novel Coronavirus, you are fighting for the people that you love, your family, your friends, your neighbors and those that you care for. 

As Ohioans, we have to unite, stand strong and fight together. 

By donating you’re taking part in this fight and helping those in the front lines. 

All proceeds will go directly to the purchase and delivery of medical supplies (PPE) such as medical masks, N95 masks, face shields, and other supplies requested by medical facilities and healthcare workers. Hospitals . 

With the current shortage, volunteers across Cleveland are taking action by knitting masks at home and from material that may not provide enough protection for healthcare workers in the front lines.

With the first $10,000 we can procure at least 3,500 N95 (KN95) masks

With a total of $20,000 we can procure at least 7,000 N95 (KN95) masks

With a total of $50,000 we can procure at least 17,500 N95 (KN95) masks

With a total of $70,000 we can procure at least 24,500 N95 (KN95) masks

With a total of $100,000 we can procure at least 35,000 N95 (KN95) masks

Beyond $100,000, we plan to continue procuring needed supplies and also helping facilities such as Police Departments, Post Office, and other organizations working to protect our community and support those most affected by the Coronavirus.

Please note that N95 Masks are more expensive than medical masks. The current demand for these masks has increased dramatically, leading to a fluctuation in prices. We will do our best to procure these masks at the lowest price and with the appropriate certification. With this demand, many unlicensed factories have begun producing N95 masks at lower prices, without FDA or CE certification -this does not guarantee the quality of the masks.

The suppliers we are working with have provided with the adequate certification, licenses and a virtual tour of their factories.

Procurement of the supplies will be made transparent.
Communication will explicitly take place through our Discord group (no private groups or channels). We will do our best to document every step through social media and allow you to take part.

Tag us, re-share, on Instagram (@masksforhope)
Retweet our tweets on Twitter (@masksforhope)
Join the community through Discord ( ) 

Send us an email at: [email redacted]

Irvin Steve Cardenas is a tech entrepreneur, and a robotics researcher working at Kent State University’s Advanced Telerobotics Research Laboratory. He’s also the director of the Lightning Block Foundation, and a founder of - a crypto asset management startup based out of New York City. Prior, Irvin was an analyst at Goldman Sachs where he was the tech lead for their Block Strategy Group. He has also held positions at NASA and is an advisor for various startups. Through business and personal connections, Irvin has direct relationships with manufacturers in China. Furthermore, the Lighting Block Foundation is covering the operational costs of the fundraiser.

Yuqiao Xu is a data scientist, graduate from Kent State University. Being Chinese, she saw how bad Coronavirus affected China and how their families survived. Also, as a person who has been living in Cleveland for more than 8 years, she considers Cleveland to be her second hometown. She finished her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Kent State University, her friends, her professors are all living in this community and they are all fighting with Coronavirus. Yuqiao Xu is acting as a translator in this operation. She is communicating with suppliers to ensure that the proper certifications and qualifications are being met.

Siera Terry is an entrepreneur with a background in fashion merchandising and international business. She’s the founder of Bougie Bands, an accessories company focusing on diversity and women empowerment. As a small business owner, she understands the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and small businesses. She is looking at ways to engage our community and stimulate our local economy. At MasksForHope, Siera is using her business background to provide social media coordination to our campaign. Presently, Siera is also pursuing a Masters of Fashion Industry Studies degree at Kent State University.


Question 1) What are the current issues affecting the influx of medical supplies into the US?
Below are a few reasons.

1) Limited resources / materials required to produce these medical supplies
“Both the masks made for medical personnel and for consumer purchase require a once-obscure material called melt-blown fabric. It's an extremely fine mesh of synthetic polymer fibers that forms the critical inner filtration layer of a mask, allowing the wearer to breath while reducing the inflow of possible infectious particles.
And there's now a global shortage of melt-blown fabric due to the increased demand for masks — and the difficulty in producing this material.” Sources: NPR , VOA News 

2) An increasing demand for these supplies from all regions across the globe. Sources: NYPost 
3) A high demand and limited supply leads to price fluctuation. Sources: NPR 
4) Most masks have been produced by China, and production has been impacted by outbreak. Sources: NYTimes 
5) Airport shutdowns / Limited flights. Sources: CNBC, Wall Street Journal 
6) Customs and export regulatory policies; government ordinances. Sources: NYMag, Economic Times 
7) Tradewar. Sources: NYTimes 

Question 2) How do you know these suppliers?
Close friends and family members residing in mainland China, that directly know the factory owners, are assisting us. This is the main reason why we are able to view the factories and assure the quality. Irvin personally works with robotics (mechanical parts, hardware) manufacturers across China and they have shared their export / import logistics to make sure adequate delivery of the supplies.

Question 3) Are they FDA / CE certified?
Yes. We are only purchasing FDA and or CE certified supplies and providing hospitals with the proper documentation. If you’re purchasing FDA certified products, you may check the product’s authenticity using the FDA's listing database. You can easily check by using the Owner / Operator Name and the Product Code

Question 4) Can you connect me with your supplier?
If you’re a hospital or clinic, please reach out to us at [email redacted] using an email under the facility’s respective domain name. Due to the current demand, we will not share supplier contact information to any personal emails.

Question 5) Why are they cheaper than others?
Additional middlemen have emerged during this crisis. We are directly working with manufacturers. Nonetheless, we cannot discount the efforts of these middlemen, who are able to procure the supplies and source adequate funds for the purchase and export. If you are a local supplier, please contact us at [email redacted]. We are more than willing to purchase these supplies as soon as possible.

Question 6) I found cheaper masks, why are yours more expensive?
Currently, the price of KN95s fluctuates daily. We are trying our best to procure the safest masks at the best price. If you are a direct supplier, please contact us at [email redacted] with pricing tables and certificates FDA and/or CE.

If you’re purchasing for yourself or to donate, please request proper certification (FDA / CE). As of last week, KN95 and FP94 masks on eBay are selling at around $2.00 - these are not FDA certified.

“Timothy Robson, a business development manager at Hills, Inc. in Florida, is skeptical of the quality of such production lines, which must meet precise standards to produce the kind of masks worn by medical staff. Hills Inc. is one of the handful of companies in the world that can make the hand-drilled die tips for the machines. The melted plastic is blown out through the tips.” Source: NPR 

Question 7) What about GoFundMe’s fees and additional operational costs?
The Lightning Block Foundation and the organizing team are covering operational costs. If you’d like sponsor us please join our Discord server, and or send us an email at [email redacted]

Question 8) Is my donation tax deductible?
The Lightning Block Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that will apply for 501(c)3 status. We cannot guarantee that your donation will be tax exempt. According to online resources, if the Lightning Block Foundation is granted 501(c)3 status, donations made to the Lightning Block Foundation prior to a 27-month will qualify as tax-exempt.

Question 9) How I can help?
You can start by sharing our GoFundMe, donating, or connecting us with medical facilities in need. 

Contact us at: [email redacted]



    • $25 
    • 4 yrs
  • Alice and David Basinski
    • $20 
    • 4 yrs
  • Allison Groesch
    • $20 
    • 4 yrs
  • Nancy Stanton
    • $25 
    • 4 yrs
  • Jenn Daly
    • $50 
    • 4 yrs

Fundraising team: MasksForHope Team (3)

Irvin Cardenas
Cleveland, OH
Yuqiao Xu
Team member
Siera Terry
Team member

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