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A Million Masks and a Million Dollars

By Katie Whitney
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GreaterGood cofounders Tim Kunin and Greg Hesterberg have been teaming up to make the world a better place since the 1970s, when they were U-M students. In 1976, they were both members of the Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM), and Kunin was part of a PIRGIM group that set out to trek 230 miles across the state to get lawmakers to pass legislation to reduce litter and trash. The “bottle bill,” which created the 10-cent bottle deposits that so many Michiganders take for granted, might not have been passed without Kunin and Hesterberg’s activism.

Now, more than 40 years later, their organization, GreaterGood, is making a difference in health care. GreaterGood is devoted to many causes, including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, animal rescue, hunger, and others. The organization has placed particular emphasis on breast cancer research, in honor of the co-founders’ mothers, who both survived the disease. They recently created the GreaterGood Breast Cancer Research Professorship in the University of Michigan Medical School, and Sofia Merajver, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine and director of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk and Evaluation Program, became the first to receive the professorship earlier this month.

The professorship brought the organization’s total gifts to Michigan Medicine to $1 million, but they have not stopped there. GreaterGood will reach another million milestone this February, when the organization will have given a total of a million masks to front-line health care workers at Michigan Medicine since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Helping strangers is one of the highest forms of charity,” says Kunin. “Using our ability to source PPE in order to protect health care workers and slow the spread of this disease is the way our customers and staff can make the most difference in the worst public health crisis in the last century.  

“We are honored by our ability to help Michigan Medicine, whose teams are the real heroes in this fight. They are doing the heavy lifting.” 

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