DHVANI, the Portland-based maker of Activ(ist)Wear, announced that it will sell one face mask for $1 million to help fund “A Mask for Every American,” a campaign initiated by the brand that promises to provide free, eco-friendly, washable cotton face masks to all U.S. residents. DHVANI’s #MillionDollarMask Challenge is a rallying cry to successful individuals, tech leaders, athletes, celebrities, entrepreneurs, investors and foundations to use their resources in creative ways to help slow the spread of COVID-19.\
Initially launched on April 21st, “A Mask for Every American” has received requests for more than 1 million face masks, and DHVANI has already delivered over 40,000 masks to residents nationwide. Additionally, the company has donated more than 10,000 masks to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, first responders, senior living facilities, essential workers, homeless outreach nonprofits, communities of color, and protestors leading the fight for civil rights.
This is a personal issue for DHVANI’s co-founder and chief of operations, Kanayochukwu Onwuama. Onwuama learned in detail about the dire conditions in New York City hospitals from his mother, Joy Austin, a registered nurse at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, N.Y.
“I remember when my mom told me that 13 people died of COVID-19 at her hospital that night,” said Onwuama. “I cried. This is preventable. We can beat this if we all commit to one smart, simple action at large scale.”
As the tenth anniversary of The Giving Pledge approaches, DHVANI is urging public figures and anyone with the financial resources needed to join the effort and make a charitable donation to the nonprofit organization DHVANIcares.org, which runs “A Mask For Every American.”
“We’re applying everything we know about designing high-quality athletic apparel to creating and giving away free, eco-friendly, reusable masks,” said Avi Brown, DHVANI chief executive and co-founder. “It’s time for billionaires and celebrities like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Phil Knight, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban and Mark Zuckerberg to take bold action, give back to the greater good of humanity and make a meaningful difference by helping us put a mask on every face in America.”
To help visualize the impact of wearing masks on the spread of COVID-19, DHVANI has launched a new interactive computer simulation on DHVANI.com/FreeMasks. The data model utilized by the free-to-use web app comes from a recent collaborative study between some of the world’s leading universities (England’s University of Cambridge, France’s Ecole de Guerre Economique, University of California Berkeley-affiliated International Computer Science Institute and others). The study states that if 80% of the population wears masks in public, infection rates will plummet by 90%, effectively ending the pandemic.
A Mask for Every American is made possible by the generous donations of people all across the country. To donate, please visit gofundme.com/f/MasksForAll.