Eagles' Jeffrey Lurie Donating $1M to Penn Medicine Research During COVID-19

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIApril 3, 2020

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie walks on the field to a news conference in Philadelphia, Thursday, May 9, 2019. Lincoln Financial Group and the Philadelphia Eagles announced today that they have agreed to extend the stadium naming rights for Lincoln Financial Field through the 2032 NFL season. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has donated $1 million to Penn Medicine to fund COVID-19 testing and research.

The money will directly go toward establishing the COVID-19 Immunology Defense Fund, according to a release from the university. The fund will support the testing of healthcare workers as part of a research program as well as other research into treating the virus.

"The contribution provided by Lurie offers the opportunity for Penn's leaders to address critically emerging needs as the pandemic evolves," Melissa Moody, a spokesperson for Penn said in a statement. "Top priorities range from developing rapid diagnostic testing, to finding drugs that work against the virus, to developing potential vaccines. In the coming days, serology tests will be deployed across multiple research studies, including for health care workers and recovered COVID-19 patients, helping scientists to determine if a person has antibodies against the virus, which could help to enhance hospitals' knowledge about which staff may be immune to the disease."

On Friday, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and the team's managing partners, Josh Harris and David Blitzer, announced a joint $1.3 million donation to Penn Medicine to ensure health care workers are able to get tested for the virus. 

The University of Pennsylvania executive vice president for the Health System, Dr. J. Larry Jameson, said Lurie's contribution will help more than 200 experts at Penn who have previously worked on treatments for cancer, autoimmune diseases, HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases at large. 

"In a time of national crisis, this is the kind of extraordinary partnership that can open doors and discover new pathways to address the profound challenges before us," University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann said. "I am personally grateful to an exceptional civic leader and a great friend, Jeffrey Lurie, for giving us the tools to fight back against this pandemic in a way that may not only benefit our city and country but also the world."

NFL players and personnel at large have been finding various ways to support COVID-19 relief and treatment efforts. Eagles' wideout DeSean Jackson recently competed in a Madden 20 tournament with fellow players Derwin James, Tyreek Hill, Tyrann Mathieu, Keenan Allen, Jarvis Landry and Denzel Ward with proceeds benefiting relief efforts. James won the tournament and secured $20,000 for the charity of his choice while each participant earned $5,000 to donate on behalf of Electronic Arts and the NFL Foundation. 

On Thursday, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft used the team plane to transport 1.2 million N95 masks from China to Boston which will be dispersed to health care workers in Massachusetts. 

"When we band together, our defense gets stronger," Lurie said in making his donation. "I ask that you join me in supporting the COVID-19 Immunology Defense Fund, and help the dedicated immunologists at Penn Medicine defeat this virus."