Published July 7, 2020

Photo by John O'Boyle

Donor provides thousands of masks to Rutgers students, faculty, and health care workers fighting COVID-19.

One of Rutgers’ most generous international donors has given 30,000 masks to Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Dezhi Lu and the Huamin Charity Foundation, the first private, family-funded foundation established in China, made the gift.

The masks will be distributed by RBHS to where they are needed most among the academic health center’s faculty members, students, and health care providers.

“This generous gift from Dr. Lu will have a direct impact on so many members of the RBHS community and on the thousands of patients we care for each day throughout New Jersey,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “Masks are one of the most fundamental and effective weapons we have in the fight against COVID-19, and we are deeply grateful to Dr. Lu for making this gift.”

“COVID-19 harms humans in an extremely rogue way and has become the common enemy of mankind,” said Lu. “The virus knows no borders and fighting it requires working cooperatively around the world. Let us join together to overcome difficulties and fight COVID-19.”

Lu is chair of Hongkang Life Insurance and chair of the Huamin Charity Foundation. The Beijing-based foundation focuses on poverty reduction, education equality, and social welfare issues. In 2012, Lu and the foundation established the Huamin Research Center at Rutgers School of Social Work, which will receive 1,000 masks from Lu’s donation.

The center’s mission is to develop and disseminate knowledge through research and exchange that promotes professional development of nonprofit organizations and strengthens individual, family, and community well-being in China.

Through partnerships with major Chinese and American universities and research institutions, the center contributes to the development of China’s nonprofit sector. It also provides fellowships to doctoral and master’s degree students who are studying nonprofit and social welfare issues in China.

Each year the center hosts Chinese visiting scholars to encourage international scholarship on topics related to social development in China and to help train future nonprofit leaders and public servants.

“Dezhi Lu is one of the School of Social Work’s most generous donors, an international philanthropic leader, with a vision for ‘collective sharing’ that guides his incredible work in China and beyond,” said Cathryn C. Potter, dean of the school and a distinguished professor. “It has been a privilege to work with Dr. Lu and the Huamin Charity Foundation over the years, and we are especially grateful for this much-needed donation. At a time when our two great countries are often distanced politically, it is important to remember friendships such as this that are not political but focused on humanitarian needs.”

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences is the umbrella organization for eight schools, including two medical schools, a nursing school, and a pharmacy school, and seven centers and institutes focused on improving human health.

Based predominantly in New Brunswick and Newark, and collaborating with researchers throughout the university, RBHS established Rutgers as one of the largest academic institutions in the United States, providing health care education, research, and clinical service and care.