Wanxiang America, led by Northwestern University trustee Pin Ni, donated 250,000 face masks and 30,000 face shields to the city of Chicago this month.
The masks and shields are part of a larger donation from the company to help its American friends during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wanxiang America is contributing 1.1 million masks and 50,000 face shields to a dozen states in need of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) this month.
“Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off,” read the signs on a procession of boxes containing the PPE that were part of the donations made to Chicago on Thursday, May 7.
Ni is president of Wanxiang America Corporation, a U.S. subsidiary of Wanxiang Group Company, based in Hangzhou, China. Involved in automotive and industrial markets, Wanxiang America is the source for all of Wanxiang Group/China's products in the U.S. Ni was appointed to Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees in 2016.
“This pandemic has clearly inflicted great harm on our community, and it is time for all of us to do what we could to support each other to defeat this virus,” said Ni.
The donations are part of a wider initiative to support 12 states in the fight against COVID-19. In addition to Illinois, the donations are going to Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin. A second phase of the initiative will focus on Critical Access Hospitals in rural areas, starting with 50 hospitals in Kansas.
In her thank you letter addressed to Ni and his company, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the donation "supports the countless Chicagoans working day and night to fight this disease.”
“We are truly all in this together,” Lightfoot observed.
“Thanx to Wanxiang America for donating hundreds of thousands of masks and face shields to the people of Chicago,” tweeted Chicago Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar.
Mayekar greeted Ni at a ceremony at McCormick Place where the supplies were delivered, and he noted later in his Tweet: “@chicagosmayor (Lightfoot) and I value good corporate citizens.”
Since 2012, Wanxiang has partnered with Northwestern’s Global Learning Office and Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) to support students in their journey abroad through the Energy Technology and Policy Wanxiang Fellows Program. Wanxiang has provided additional support to ISEN and its upcoming master of science in energy and sustainability degree, launching in fall 2020, and Ni is a member of the ISEN Executive Council.