When news of an Ebola outbreak first started coming out of West Africa in the summer of 2014, Paul monitored developments daily. He acted quickly, with both urgency and optimism, to respond to an outbreak that would become the largest in history. It devastated the region between 2013 and 2016 and left 22,000 children orphaned while it simultaneously destroyed local economies and infrastructure. Paul made the single, largest private donation to the West Africa Ebola response — a $100 million donation to support a collaborative effort between international governments, humanitarian organizations, local health care workers, and other medical groups. He also wrote an impassioned op-ed in USA Today where he said, “When I first saw news of the Ebola breakout, I knew we needed to respond with urgency and strength, as Ebola would put the already fragile health care infrastructure in Africa under tremendous pressure.”
Paul’s Ebola responses changed the trajectory of this vicious disease. He addressed immediate needs by coordinating the delivery of critical supplies while at the same time supporting health care workers by launching important education and awareness campaigns both in West Africa and abroad. And, when American medical workers were struggling with their own safety abroad, he partnered with the US State Department to build two portable medevac units and created a fund to cover the costs of evacuation not covered by medical workers’ insurance. Here in the US, he also launched Tackle Ebola, a nationwide public awareness campaign that made sure the ongoing crisis wasn’t forgotten in the churn of our 24-hour news cycle. Tackle Ebola also included a website that provided a donation mechanism for those wanting to make smaller contributions to fund projects like the creation of 6,000 hand-washing stations and the purchase of much-needed beds for patients.