Corona Heroes: Romanian entrepreneur raises EUR 1 mln to help hospital in COVID-19 stricken region
A fundraising campaign launched by Romanian entrepreneur Stefan Mandachi has managed to gather donations worth over EUR 1 million to help the county hospital in Suceava, the city with the most COVID-19 cases in the country. This is probably the biggest donation campaign carried out by an individual in Romania to date.
Mandachi owns the Spartan fast food restaurant chain and several hotels and ballrooms in Suceava. In 2019, he built a one-meter highway near Suceava to protest the lack of infrastructure in Romania’s Moldova region. The Romania wants highways (#sieu) movement brought him much fame nationally and even internationally.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Suceava, turning it into “Romania’s Lombardy,” Stefan Mandachi decided to use his notoriety to help the local hospital cope with the crisis. He started “selling” his highway for donations – EUR 10 for each square centimeter. In less than a month, his campaign raised over EUR 1 million, through the 1cm.ro website. The donations came mainly from local companies and individual donors.
Mandachi also turned his campaign international by launching a Facebook fundraising campaign through the Romanian United Fund in the US. This campaign has raised over RON 150,000 (EUR 30,000) from more than 1,200 Facebook users around the world in just nine days.
All of the money raised through the 1cm.ro campaign will go to the Red Cross unit in Suceava to be used for buying medical equipment and protection equipment used in the fight against COVID-19. The acquisitions and orders launched by April 10, with money raised in this campaign, include 21 ventilators to be used for treating COVID-19 patients.
Mandachi’s efforts didn’t stop here. Under the tagline Impreuna pentru Linia Intai (Together for the First Line), he also launched a website that offers psychological support to first-line personnel. Through this platform, nine psychologists provide free support to medical and law enforcement personnel involved in the fight against COVID-19.
The Suceava-born entrepreneur also put his four-star hotel at the disposal of medical personnel working in the Suceava county hospital, for free, from the first days of the epidemic. He urged other hotel owners in Romania to do the same. He also provided free meals to doctors and law enforcement personnel through his Spartan restaurant chain, having them delivered to the hospital and other public institutions.
Suceava has recorded over 2,200 COVID-19 infection cases confirmed by tests, almost a quarter of all the cases reported in Romania by April 21 (9,242), according to official data. Moreover, Suceava has also registered the highest number of COVID-19 victims, and most doctors and nurses infected.
(Photo source: Stefan Mandachi Facebook page)