St. Charles launches $1 million ‘Hero Fund’ for frontline bonus pay

St. Charles announced Wednesday it will commit $1 million to a “Hero Fund” for frontline workers caring for patients with COVID-19.

The April bonuses will be funded through the St. Charles Foundation to show appreciation and to honor the risks caregivers are taking.

To be eligible, caregivers must work in direct patient care or on-site at a clinical location for at least 80 hours during April, according to a press release from the hospital. The hero bonuses will be paid out on May 15.

“St. Charles caregivers in our hospitals, clinics, home health and patient support areas come to work every day knowing that even with taking appropriate precautions they could contract this serious virus,” President and CEO Joe Sluka said. “They provide essential care, while having to worry about potentially bringing home COVID-19 to their families. I am in awe of their heroism and honor the sacrifices they are making to care for others during this crisis.”

St. Charles, like most hospitals across the nation, is facing a daunting economic environment because of COVID-19.

However, we believe it is important to provide this additional bonus pay to caregivers for as long as we can, the release said.

St. Charles has committed $1 million to the Hero Fund and is asking the community to match the efforts in support of our caregivers.

“We have seen an incredible outpouring of support through donations of masks, food and other items for our teams,” said Lisa Dobey, executive director of community and philanthropy for St. Charles. “This is another opportunity for the Central Oregon community to show its love to our caregivers on the front lines of this fight.”

Future hero bonuses for St. Charles caregivers will be determined based on the success of community donations to the fund.

To kick off the fund and inspire others to contribute, Sluka is donating 50% of his paycheck during this timeframe to support St. Charles caregivers.

“Caring for our people throughout this pandemic is critical so we can ensure they will be able to care for others,” Sluka said. “If possible, and with generous community support, we hope to extend the Hero Fund beyond April.”

For more information on how to donate, visit https://foundation.stcharleshealthcare.org/ways-give/st-charles-hero-fund or call 541-706-6996. Donations can also be made to St. Charles Foundation at 2500 NE Neff Rd., Bend, OR 97701.

Please note that the Foundation cannot accept gifts earmarked for specific individuals.

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