MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Poarch Band of Creek Indians this week donated $500,000 to the Alabama Department of Public Health to assist with COVID-19 testing and equipment, a gift that elicited a hearty “thank you” from the governor and state health officer.
“I commend the Poarch Creek Indians for their generosity during this time,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “These funds will save lives and greatly assist the state in our battle of COVID-19. Thank you for all you do for Alabama.”
Chief Executive Officer and Tribal Chair Stephanie Bryan said the funds are meant to help the state protect frontline health workers and expand testing capabilities for the coronavirus.
“The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is proud to be able to assist the state of Alabama in battling COVID-19,” Bryan said. “We recognize that access to testing is a critical component of safely reopening our economy and are compelled to assist the state in controlling the spread of COVID-19.”
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said the funds will help the Department of Public Health achieve its goal of every citizen who is experiencing symptoms or at high risk for COVID-19 having an opportunity to access screening sites in their communities.
“Each county in the state will benefit from the donation,” Harris said. “Much-needed testing equipment and supplies will be purchased for county health departments. We are especially grateful because the tribe’s partnership and support of public health will enhance our capabilities to reach rural, underserved areas of the state.”
Earlier this year, the Poarch Creeks made significant donations to Atmore Community Hospital and the American Red Cross for the purchase of a blood mobile.
The tribe operates three casinos in Atmore, Wetumpka and Montgomery, as well as several commercial properties, including the OWN theme park in Baldwin County. The tribe has proposed a plan to pay the state $1 billion for exclusive gambling rights in the state along with expansion into north Alabama locations.