About two weeks after launching a $50,000 grant fund for companies responding to the call to fill a dire shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers, nine organizations received funds for newly spun-up operations.
Announced by Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young at a press conference outside City Hall on Wednesday, the companies and nonprofits received grants ranging from $4,000 to $7,500 from the Baltimore Development Corporation’s Made in Baltimore program. The funding is for materials and equipment that’s needed as they launch new factories to make items to protect faces, hands and bodies from exposure to COVID-19.
“If there’s one good thing we can say about the challenge our world currently finds itself in, it’s that we’re daily reminded of the heroic efforts of our front-line workers, healthcare providers and our essential workers, these people are putting their safety on the line in order to help others, ” said Made in Baltimore Executive Director Andy Cook. “To that list of heroes I’d like to add Baltimore’s small manufacturers, many of whom have in some cases on completely retooled their operations in order to begin producing PPE for our frontline workers.”
Here’s a look at the companies and collaborations that received funding, and what they’re making:
SewLab USA, the Baltimore-based manufacturing company that makes custom soft goods and runs a workforce training program, is making face masks. As BmoreArt reported, the cough suppressor face masks are washable and have two antimicrobial inner layers.
Quality Mask Supply was formed during the crisis as Dan Janssen of Imperium Shaving, Jill Andrews of Jill Andrews Gowns and Mike Pararas of Words With Boards teamed to make face masks. Drawing on Andrews’ experience working with Johns Hopkins to build a hazmat suit during the Ebola crisis, the group designed masks for medical protection.
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Custom 3D Stuff, founded by Todd Blatt, is producing face shields at the Baltimore Node makerspace, where Blatt often works. Using a lasercutter technique, the face shields can be produced in a minute. Grant funding will allow Blatt to purchase a second lasercutter and make even more. The effort was featured on “Good Morning America” and along with helping locals, Blatt said he is getting outreach around the country. Last week, about 500 were shipped to the Tuba City Regional Healthcare Corp., which is on Navajo land in Arizona.
Maryland Thermoform, shifted its plastic manufacturing operations to make clear plastic face masks. They’ve donated thousands to front-line workers, VP of Operations Carly Livesay told WJZ.
— WJZ | CBS Baltimore (@wjz) April 15, 2020
Wills Printing Co., a commercial printer in Brooklyn, is now making face masks.
Mount Royal Soap Co., based in Remington, shifted its operations to making hand sanitizer. Partnering with Charm City Meadworks on production and Waverly Color Company on bottling, the operation is producing sanitizer for Baltimore city government.
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Louthan Distilling, based in Beverly Hills, is joining the ranks of distilleries making hand sanitizers.
Different Regard is a men’s and women’s apparel shop based in Mount Vernon. During a Tuesday afternoon press conference on small business relief, Art Director Dominick Davis said the business converted to making gowns and hazmat suits.
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Citywide Youth Development, a Port Covington nonprofit that focuses on workforce training and entrepreneurial skills, is making hazmat suits and gowns.
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