Cumberland Advisors Market Commentary – The CDC Foundation

Author: David R. Kotok, Post Date: March 24, 2020

Dear readers. The CDC Foundation is not widely known. It’s a 501(c)3 that was created by Congress as a special charitable agency. The Foundation works right alongside the CDC and other national health agencies but is an independent charity. It has a special-purpose charter. Its purpose is to respond rapidly to threats like COVID-19 or Ebola or Zika and not have to wait for the political appropriations system.

Market Commentary - Cumberland Advisors - A Discussion with Judith Monroe, MD - President & CEO CDC Foundation

I’ve supported the CDC Foundation with philanthropy in the past and will do so again. I’ve had the honor of working on a conference with Dr. Judy Monroe, who is the Foundation’s president. She is an accomplished medical professional and is very busy these days, as you can imagine. We were fortunate enough to have Judy as a special guest at Camp Kotok a few years ago. At that time, Zika was a hot topic and she enlightened us to the work of the Foundation as the world confronted that virus.

As part of our efforts to share information about COVID19, we want to bring attention to the CDC Foundation and ask readers to please consider supporting it. The details are contained in the following short Q&A with Judy Monroe. She was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer the questions I posed. We hope readers find this worthwhile. Please stay safe. Please forward this to anyone who might be willing to help the CDC Foundation at this critical moment in time. -David Kotok

Q&A with Judy Monroe. David Kotok questions/comments are in bold prefaced by DK and Judy’s responses are prefaced by JM.

DK – Judy, can the CDC Foundation put additional funding to work immediately during the COVID-19 crisis?

JM – Absolutely, there are incredible needs emerging, both on the public health front and in communities. While government support is absolutely essential to address this outbreak, no government, no organization and no individual can combat coronavirus alone.

Each of us can play a crucial role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic by providing support that can be used by frontline responders to meet rapidly emerging needs where government support may not be immediately available.

There are many immediate needs where the CDC Foundation, which is an independent nonprofit organization, and its donors can have true impact. Some of these include flexible support for:

– creating education and awareness campaigns to advance prevention and reduce stigma;
– deploying emergency staff with the skills required to meet needs at the state and local level;
– meeting essential needs, such as food and medical requirements, for quarantined and individuals in isolation;
– building capacity and infrastructure for global response efforts;
– And much more.

Right now, you can help by giving to the CDC Foundation through our crowdfunding campaign titled All of Us at Or, to discuss giving opportunities, including an in-kind donation or forming a crowdfunding team through this campaign, contact Advancement at the CDC Foundation: by email at or 404-523-1873.

DK – Judy, you’ve been through a number of these crises in the past. I recall our conversations about Ebola and Zika. How does this compare to them?

JM – While outbreaks have similar characteristics, each is very different. A primary difference with this outbreak is the nearly global-wide spread of this novel coronavirus in a short amount of time. The COVID-19 outbreak—which is now a pandemic—reminds us that a health threat anywhere is a health threat everywhere.

Comparing COVID-19 and Zika, the two most recent epidemics, shows these differences. You may recall that a key concern during the Zika epidemic, which was spread both through mosquitoes as well as person to person, was pregnant women who developed Zika during pregnancy. This infection could lead to birth defects in their unborn children. With COVID-19, many people have only mild symptoms. But based on the information we have, some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness including older adults as well as people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.

DK – We’ve talked together about prevention and personal responsibility and what a person can do. Is there any counsel you can offer?

JM – Yes. At this time, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus, which is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person and to people in close contact with one another. Some basic tips include cleaning your hands often, avoiding close contact with others, protecting others by staying home if you are sick, covering your coughs and sneezes, wearing a facemask if you are sick, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Also, follow the guidance from public health authorities, as guidance will continue to evolve as the pandemic evolves.

DK – Thank you, Judy, for a few moments during this hectic time and please be safe. When this is over, let’s go fishing again.

Dear readers. Please help the CDC Foundation. I encourage everyone to learn much more about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself by going to CDC’s website.

David R. Kotok
Chairman of the Board & Chief Investment Officer
Email | Bio

Dr. Judy Monroe was a virtual guest of the Global Interdependence Center on May 7, 2020

View the interview at GIC’s website here:

Judith Monroe from CDC Foundation & David Kotok
explore Zika & other initiatives of the CDC, August 2018

CDC Foundation Dr Judy Monroe & David Kotok

Here’s my first interview with Judy Monroe when she was a guest in Maine. -David


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