Two energy companies, Houston- and New Jersey-based NRG Energy Inc. (NYSE: NRG) and Houston-based Aramco Americas, have each committed over $2 million to Covid-19 relief efforts. Combined, $630,000 of the funds went toward Houston Methodist, according to recent announcements.

Houston-based Reliant Energy, part of NRG, made a $100,000 donation to Houston Methodist to establish the “Reliant Innovation Fund.” The innovation fund will go toward students enrolled in Texas A&M University’s Engineering Medicine (EnMed) program at Houston Methodist Hospital.

EnMed will be based at the $550 million Texas A&M Innovation Plaza campus being developed adjacent to the Texas Medical Center. The TAMU System’s two-degree program provides students the chance to earn a master’s degree in engineering from Texas A&M University and a medical degree from the Texas A&M College of Medicine. The renovated EnMed Building is slated to open later this year.

Reliant’s additional $30,000 donation to Houston Methodist will also expand patient-centric communication through MedTrak Inc.’s CareSense mobile app. The Pennsylvania-based digital platform will allow Houston Methodist to continue caring for its Covid-19 patients after they’re discharged by aiding in patient education, health recovery, risk-factor monitoring, goal setting, care coordination and medication adherence.

“Innovating is at the core of what we do at Houston Methodist, and this generous gift from Reliant will make a difference for patients both now and for years to come,” Faisal Masud, medical director of the Center for Critical Care at Houston Methodist Hospital, said in a May 28 press release. “The challenges that we have and will continue to face with the Covid-19 pandemic amplifies the need for fresh ideas to combat this disease and treat those who have been affected.”

Houston Methodist also received $500,000 from Aramco Americas to support the health system’s Covid-19 research, including convalescent plasma therapy. As other clinical trials are explored, the therapy may serve as a vital treatment option, according to a statement from Houston Methodist.

Aramco Americas, the U.S. subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, also provided funding for other coronavirus-related efforts:

  • $500,000 to the Houston Health Foundation will provide greater access to mobile Covid-19 testing. Testing will be operated by the Houston Health Department and will rotate through vulnerable neighborhoods over the next several weeks.
  • $100,000 to the Houston Health Foundation will provide 1,000 grocery gift cards for first responders and health care officials through Aramco’s “Our Houston Heroes” campaign.
  • $54,000 to the Houston Food Bank from an employee campaign with company match will result in the distribution of 162,000 meals.

In April, Aramco donated approximately $90,000 and delivered 30,000 KN95 protective masks to the city of Houston. The masks were distributed by the Houston Health Foundation and Houston Health Department to city employees.

“Aramco has made it a point to step up for Houston’s community during good times and challenging ones, and their donations – coming during a crisis of unprecedented scale – are needed support for our medical response and first responders,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a May 20 press release.

The rest of Aramco Americas’ more than $2 million in donations will benefit organizations in other communities where it operates.

By Sara Samora – Reporter

Courtesy of Houston Business Journal

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