Credit: Dr. Ahmed Mady

Hospital workers at Boston's Brigham And Women's Hospital.

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Coronavirus

MIT Sloan EMBA student launches “Masks 2 Heroes” initiative

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First funding round led to sale of 3,000 fabric masks and donation of 10,000 medical masks. Next funding goal is to raise $1 million to provide 200,000 masks.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 19, 2020 – As many states are discussing reopening plans, there is a critical need for masks for the general public and frontline workers. To help meet this need, MIT Sloan School of Management executive MBA student Dr. Ahmed Mady spearheaded an initiative, “Masks 2 Heroes” along with his executive MBA colleagues, to provide cloth masks for the public at cost, while donating profits to provide medical and disposable masks to frontline workers.

“I went into healthcare to help others regardless of circumstance, but I never thought I would have an opportunity to make this kind of impact. We are witnessing challenging times and that puts a lot of responsibility on all of us to think differently, innovate, and act fast. The unwavering support of my EMBA colleagues and broader MIT community was instrumental in allowing me to bring an idea to fruition during this pandemic in less than a week and make a difference,” says Mady.

In his initial two-week campaign, he raised $50,000 and delivered 10,000 KN95 and disposable masks to more than 18 hospitals, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Mass General Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Beth Israel Hospital. He also distributed more than 3,000 fabric washable masks to initiative supporters.

His second campaign launches Tuesday, May 19 with a goal to raise $1 million from individuals, corporations, and organizations. He hopes to distribute more than 200,000 masks to frontline workers as well as washable fabric masks to the public. The second campaign includes the option to purchase “Back 2 Work” and “Back 2 Campus” packages, with masks featuring company and school logos.

A thank you video from MD Anderson in Texas

Watch a video from the team at MD Anderson saying "thank you" to Masks 2 Heroes for the donation they received.

Mady came up with the idea for the initiative in March, when PPE shortages were in critically short supply and the public was increasingly being advised to wear fabric masks in public. A physician, healthcare consultant, and entrepreneur, Mady also runs his family’s textile factory in Egypt, which he could use to produce fabric masks.

Pitching the idea to make fabric masks at his factory and donate the proceeds to purchase and donate medical-grade masks, he received “tremendous support” from his EMBA classmates. “They immediately put me in touch with experts like fundraisers in their networks and also provided their own expertise. For example, a classmate helped with building the Masks2Heroes website and another helped with distribution plans,” he says.

Within days of receiving feedback, his factory made a prototype and Mady launched the first campaign. The produced masks are based on a study published by the University of Cambridge and feature an additional filter to achieve a “higher-than-standard efficacy” than average cloth masks. Mady says, “Average cotton blends fabric can provide around 70 percent effectiveness, but with the right filter, we can have protection that reaches up to 90 percent effectiveness against viral particles.”

Mady adds, “There are more lives to protect and save. The donation of medical-grade masks is just as important as the fabric mask part of the initiative. This is called Masks 2 Heroes because we are grateful for our frontline heroes and want to support them. I’m excited to launch the second initiative this week and look forward to providing as many masks as possible to keep our medical heroes and loved ones safe.”To learn more about the initiative, please visit: https://igg.me/at/masks2heroes2

About the MIT Sloan School of Management

The MIT Sloan School of Management is where smart, independent leaders come together to solve problems, create new organizations, and improve the world. Learn more at mitsloan.mit.edu.

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