CDC Foundation Activates Emergency Response Fund to Provide Support to Monkeypox Response 

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Donates $1 Million for Communications and Other Key Needs to Help End Outbreak

The monkeypox outbreak is a global public health emergency, spreading to more than 51,000 people in nearly 100 countries. The United States has nearly 19,000 cases—more than any nation. To provide flexible support to help address on-the-ground needs as part of response efforts, the CDC Foundation today activated its Emergency Response Fund, which has played an essential role in helping bolster other responses, from Ebola to Zika to, most recently, COVID-19. The CDC Foundation today announced a catalytic donation of $1 million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in support of this fund.

“CDC continues to aggressively respond to the current monkeypox outbreak by providing resources, education and outreach to the communities most affected,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “Our priority is to contain this outbreak through equitable interventions and culturally sensitive education materials. Activation of the CDC Foundation’s emergency response fund will provide needed support as we continue to respond to the current monkeypox outbreak.”

Monkeypox is a rare but serious disease typically beginning with flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes, progressing to include rash on the face and body. It can be transmitted from skin-to-skin contact and coming into contact with objects and materials a person with monkeypox has used.

In this outbreak, monkeypox has spread mostly during intimate contact, including sex, hugging, kissing and the touching of fabrics. Most of those affected in the current outbreak are gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men, however, anyone who has come in close, personal contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk. Data show a growing disparity in vaccination rates among different racial and ethnic groups, creating an urgent need for enhanced communication efforts to reach those most at-risk with accurate and timely health information.

“We must take action now to stop this outbreak. There are many critical needs, including comprehensive health communication campaigns and education materials that can be used to raise awareness about key protective measures, particularly for use in those communities with the greatest risk and concentration of cases,” said Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “Beyond communications, there is a need for community outreach activities, coordination of vaccination and testing at large events, and additional work with community health organizations and partners.”

“Government support is essential in tackling health threats, such as monkeypox,” said Monroe. “But we know philanthropic and private sector support is critical for use alongside government funding to address needs that arise in rapidly evolving situations where speed and flexibility are key to protecting people. It will take all of us working together to stop the outbreak. We are incredibly grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the first gift to our Emergency Response Fund. We hope this donation will encourage others to provide much needed support.”

“An equitable approach to addressing the monkeypox threat is vital to containing and ultimately ending its spread,” said Richard Besser, MD, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former acting director of CDC. “Too often in America, historically marginalized communities are cut off from the care and treatment necessary to stay safe and healthy. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is pleased to support the reactivation of the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund to continue the fight against monkeypox.”

As the monkeypox case count grows in the United States and globally, those fighting monkeypox in local communities need help to stem the tide of new cases and reduce this dangerous threat. Support is invaluable to advance these important public health interventions. There are four crucial ways to help us fight this highly infectious disease:

  • Make a donation that can be used flexibly to fund the provision of critical materials and amplify public health communications.
  • Start a fundraiser to support CDC Foundation’s emergency response to monkeypox. Learn how to start a fundraiser.
  • Discuss giving opportunities or start a workplace campaign to support the emergency response by contacting Advancement at the CDC Foundation (email at or 404.653.0790, toll-free at 888-886-4CDC).
  • Share the CDC Foundation’s social media messages to get the word out about how to stay safe and to support the response.

Contributions to the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law and can be made securely online or by mail. For additional donation options, please visit our Ways to Give page.