During the pandemic, it came to light that the Ferreira Foundation (New Brunswick), run by the family of Chris Ferreira, principal at tech consulting company Ferreira Co. (New Brunswick) and the foundation’s CTO, had become involved in coordinating relief efforts.
We first met Ferreira after hurricane Sandy, when he was working with Mission 50 (Hoboken) cofounder Greg Dell’Aquila to restore power and internet service to the coworking space that was home to many tech startups at the time. (Our story is here.)
The foundation’s expertise is in organizing the efforts of others on the ground and getting supplies and essentials to those who need them during times of natural disaster or other crises. Its mission is to assist NGO’s, nonprofit organizations, governments and private companies in facilitating disaster relief and recovery through sustainable community-based projects, technology, logistics and coordination, advisory assistance and support. When the pandemic hit, the foundation jumped right in, and made an impact.
When COVID spiked in India, NJTechWeekly.com remembered an earlier conversation with Ferreira about his family foundation, which was doing so much for so many in the United States by coordinating the efforts of many groups assisting during the worst spikes.
We asked Ferreira for a statement about what the organization is doing to help now. He responded:
“In terms of India, from the beginning of the Ferreira Foundation’s COVID humanitarian response, we were in contact with an employee of one of our senior advisory panel and board members who was in the country. This person had left Canada, where he lives, to travel to India to bring his son back home. He was then unable to leave the country because of lockdown reasons. This person is also a licensed exporter and was able to help us with lots of on-the-ground intel on PPE [personal protective equipment] availability and logistics in a time when information was tough to come by. Together with our very close partner, U.S. Disaster Coordination [Corporation], we were able to get this information to our partners in dire need of PPE and help facilitate exchange and communication.
“As the months went on and our COVID response continued, we formed a working group to facilitate and bring together volunteers comprised of doctors, engineers, students and stay-at-home moms and dads from around the world to collaborate on ventilator and oxygen concentration needs. We held meetings daily to manage operations and the 180 volunteers we coordinated in our nationwide PPE distribution campaign. These were regularly 20-hour nonstop days, with sessions back to back in time zones all across the globe.
“As the situation worsened in India, we were able to help coordinate and connect these disparate teams from around the globe to work together to minimize the duplication of effort, which is a tenet of humanitarian response, and [to support] PPE production and the engineering of medical equipment. We helped coordinate an international response to the ventilator and oxygen shortages in numerous capacities. At the same time, we worked with our NGO partners domestically to get PPE into the hands of providers that desperately needed it.”
In other matters, the Ferreira Foundation has been actively preparing for Hurricane Season 2021 on the East Coast, the Caribbean and the Gulf Coast. “We are familiar with these locations, as we have previously responded to these areas when disaster has struck. We are currently gearing up to provide disaster relief on the ground and support our NGO partners when the time comes.
“After making multiple vehicle and equipment purchases this past year, we, unfortunately, don’t have it in the budget to provide a boots-on-the-ground response in India. Still, we are closely monitoring the situation, reaching out to NGOs in India that we have worked with in the past, remotely coordinating what we can, and seeing how we might fund a further response.”