MDA ambulance dedication in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MAARIT KYTOHARJU)
The Atlanta-based Marcus Foundation has donated $25 million to American Friends of Magen David Adom to build an urgently needed new national blood center in Israel.
It is the largest-ever grant to MDA, the country’s 86-year old national ambulance, blood-service and disaster-relief agency.
The grant was announced at the annual AFMDA Boca-Delray Community Event on Tuesday night at St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida. The foundation’s co-founders – Billi and Bernie Marcus – were honored with the Humanitarian of the Year award at the dinner.
The new building, to be named the Marcus National Blood Services Center, will be located in Ramle.
The current blood center, built in 1987 at Tel Hashomer, is vulnerable to attack, as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip during the war with Hamas in 2014 forced MDA to quickly move the country’s blood supply and its blood-processing operations into underground bomb shelters.
The current facility no longer accommodates the nation’s growing population, which has grown from 4.1 million people in the late 1980s to 8.5 million today; the population is expected to reach 10 million by 2030. The current building is also problematic in that it does not meet Israel’s current codes for earthquake safety.a