Former President Jimmy Carter has asked potential donors to his charity The Carter Center to redirect their funds to local charities that might help lessen the negative impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The former president issued the timely message to donors Tuesday, along with his wife Rosalynn Carter and their grandson Jason Carter, a lawyer and former Georgia state senator who serves as chairman for the charity’s board of trustees.
“We ask you to forgo your next gift for the work of The Carter Center and direct it to a local group that is reducing the suffering caused by this pandemic,” wrote the Carters. “Each of us asks you to concentrate on the needs of your family, friends, neighbors, and all in your community. Your commitment will help stop this threat.”
The message suggested that a massive effort will be required to eliminate the threat, while expressing confidence that the pandemic could be contained despite the rapid rise in infections and numerous unknown variables.
“We all have every confidence that we will come together as a nation and overcome this invisible threat,” the family added. “This virus and its impact must be addressed at every level of government and society. Each of us is gratified at the examples of volunteers and community organizations that have quickly mobilized to help those in need.”
The Carter Center was established in 1982 and has worked to address human rights, democracy and health issues in more than 80 countries. As recently as this month the organization was involved in an effort to monitor elections in Guyana.
Although the Carters did not specify any particular charities to donate to, charity evaluation site Charity Navigator has compiled a list of charities that are working to combat damage caused by the virus.
Cases of COVID-19 have skyrocketed in recent weeks, with the global total exceeding 422,000 as of Tuesday night. Worldwide deaths are nearing 19,000, with almost 109,000 people having recovered from the virus.
The United States has seen its rate of infections swell dramatically. More than 11,000 new cases were confirmed Tuesday, making for a total of over 54,000, with 775 deaths and 378 recoveries. The Carters’ home state of Georgia added over 200 cases, with a total of more than 1,000.
In addition to severe health impacts, the virus has hampered the U.S. economy, leading President Donald Trump to suggest that social distances measures should be eases so that the country can be “opened up and just raring to go” by Easter, despite dire warnings from public health experts.
Newsweek reached out to The Carter Center for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.