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Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers

$142,246 has been raised to help create and deliver equipment to healthcare workers who need protection from COVID-19.

A Message to Our Donors

May 28, 2021

Thank you once again for your generosity in making the work of the Illinois PPE Project possible. We remain dedicated to ensuring our healthcare workers and other first responders have what they need to reduce their risk of exposure, and to expand our reach to create devices and solutions that increase safety among citizens outside of the healthcare setting. Your support was a critical component of making this happen, in addition to the skilled workforce of “makers” who were able to put their knowledge and talents to immediate use when the crisis arose.

In order to help educate the next generation of makers, and prepare them to make an immediate impact in the future, we are taking on a new project: the $1,000 Makerspace. The $1,000 Makerspace project will bring makerspaces to under-resourced schools in Chicago and the collar counties. In addition to being creative outlets, makerspaces teach engineering, electronics and programming concepts that are vital parts of a contemporary STEM education, but that can be out of reach for many schools.

Our program will provide not only the hardware, but critically, the educational resources that will ensure there are teachers, and student assistants, prepared to build the makerspace and to educate the student body on how to use it.

Many Chicagoland schools will not be able to adopt this program without financial assistance. Will you help us make it happen? If you would like to support this effort, please click here.

Thank you!

The Work Continues

March 16, 2021

The work continues at Illinois PPE. Thanks to your generous donations the Illinois PPE Network has been able to continue to provide face shields to those in need. Simultaneously, we've been able to develop and ship new goggle, face mask, and other designs.

 On top of that, one of our newest initiatives -- funded by partner organization Nation of Makers and Get Us PPE -- has been to supply approximately 500 bus barriers for the Menominee Indian School District in Wisconsin. This school district is a critical community gathering space for students and families on the Menominee Indian Reservation, where schools supply a week's worth of food and other supplies to their families that students bring home. Busing students to and from school therefore plays a critical factor in this, and other, services provided. In collaboration with employees of the school district we've been able to increase bus capacity from 12 to 20 students per bus.

 These updates are a snapshot into our work over the past several months, and are demonstrative of our continued trajectory. Schools, healthcare institutions, and frontline workers are still short on many PPE needs. Furthermore, the cost of these goods is too high for some, while the need is still great.

Your continued support will help us address our current PPE needs while building a bridge toward the future together, with a Vincentian spirit. "For of those to whom much is given, much is required." Building to the future is -- now -- what is required of us all.


Thank you,

Jay Margalus

A message of thanks from the partners

June 02, 2020

The members of the Illinois PPE Network would like to thank you again for your critical support. Thanks to you, the network has created and delivered tens of thousands of face shields, but there is more work to be done. Watch this brief video to hear directly from the makers themselves.



Where we are, and where we're going.

May 18, 2020

Watch the video to hear directly from Jay Margalus, Jeff Solin, and partners from the Illinois PPE Network, on how your contributions have helped produce and deliver tens of thousands of pieces of PPE to hospitals and first responders in need. Learn more about the current needs from volunteers, and where the Illinois PPE Network will focus their energies next.


Thanks to our partners for their generous support!

May 4 update: production continues

May 04, 2020

Thanks to you, our network has raised over $100,000 to supply PPE to the people of Illinois. We have spent around 90% of our existing funds to fabricate over 100,000 face shields. We're now shifting to face masks, and continue to ask for your support as we work to supply every Illinoisan—from healthcare workers to people like you and me—with a mask.


Here are some more stories about this project, which you helped make possible!


WBEZ: During COVID-19 School Shutdowns, Many Find Ways to Help


Forbes by Pete Wilkins – Chicago Is Uniting For the Greater Good


Chicago Tribune by Nina Metz – Chicago company Hero Solutions makes like its name in being part of local efforts to make face shields for medical workers

The Next Phase of Production

April 23, 2020

We are in the next phase of production.


Because of your generosity, the Illinois PPE Network has been able to fabricate over 30,000 face shields for doctors and healthcare workers across the state of Illinois. We have engaged hundreds of makers and spent over $30,000 on this effort.


Now, we have a way forward that is both meaningful and scalable to address Illinois’ long-term needs. Working with Jeff Solin — an organizing member of our network — we have designed and fabricated a first batch of 8,200 face shields to be distributed throughout the state. We have also set aside a considerable amount of the funds that you’ve donated to fabricate another batch of 68,000 shields to be finished by mid-May.


Moving forward, these production efforts will go a long way in helping address Illinois’ mid-to-long-term needs. Additionally, under the advisement of healthcare workers, we are developing face masks (pictured). We have purchased a considerable amount of equipment and materials to get the entire city of Chicago and state of Illinois making masks for healthcare workers as well as people like you and me. Hundreds — if not thousands — of people around our state will have the ability to participate in this initiative by the time it’s over.


I want to thank you again for your generosity and support over these last several weeks. This small grassroots effort that you have enabled has turned into something much larger than when we began. With your help, we’ll get Illinois back on its feet.


Jay Margalus

Faculty Director of Makerspaces, DePaul University


Media Updates:

* Jeff Solin’s face shield design featured on WGN:

* A five-part series in MAKE Magazine covering the Illinois PPE Network’s efforts:

* A panel hosted by MAKE and Nation of Makers where the Illinois PPE Network group discusses how we got started and where we’re headed:

* A Chicago Council on Science and Technology panel where we discuss the Illinois PPE Network model:

PPE Production Increases - an Update from Jay Margalus

April 14, 2020

Hello friends,


Over the past three weeks we have raised over $30,000 to produce tens of thousands of shields for the state of Illinois and city of Chicago. I have a few important updates for you as we continue to move forward at an increased rate:


1. We have currently raised about $35,000 from this crowdfunding campaign and received our first grant today for $25,000. About $20,000 of our current funding has been spent to fabricate over 15,000 face shields, and we plan on spending a large portion of the remainder on PET-G (polyethylene terephthalate glycol, the clear plastic that serves as the front of the face shield) and filament within the week.


2. We are working directly with the city of Chicago and Jesse Lava, chief of policy & strategic initiatives, Chicago Department of Public Health, through their United Center location to get equipment into the hands of the highest-needs areas in the city. We are also working with GetMePPE Chicago to identify hospitals in need of deliveries, including a recent large delivery to Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers.


3. We have reached a new phase of production and will be developing the “Solin Flat Pack” design made by Jeff Solin, one of our organizers. In production, this will make (at a minimum) 1,800 shields per hour. We are currently operating a test run for 8,000 shields. Our only current limitation is PET-G.


4. Our work was featured in WBEZ through this story. Please share it!


5. I will be speaking to the Chicago Council on Science and Technology this Thursday to further explain our efforts and share our strategies and tactics. You can sign up for that event here:


I want to provide you with these updates for reasons of transparency, as well as to show our current progress. Your generous donations have made all of this, and more, possible. Every dollar that you donate helps people stay healthy, safe, and secure. More than that, it shows the profound generosity of humanity in times of need.


I want to share some kind words that we received over this Easter weekend from a nurse in a local hospital:


“I love your shields, now I realize I can get a snug fit; I like them better than our hospital issue. I am rolling them out to our staff and also administration and anticipate I will be asking for another shipment shortly. You have definitely earned a place in heaven for this amazing contribution to those of us working the front lines.”


Thank you for your continued contributions to this vital effort.



Jay Margalus

Faculty Director of Makerspaces, DePaul University

President, Spacelab NFP


For PPE, visit our organization website


A message of thanks from those on the front lines

April 07, 2020

Thank you for the incredible generosity you have shown to our DePaul faculty, students and staff and other partners and makers in Chicago who are working tirelessly to get personal protective equipment (PPE) into the hands of Illinois healthcare workers! While we are blown away by the immediate and generous response, we are not surprised to see members of our community step up to help when they see a need. You make us proud!


Healthcare workers and first responders are tremendously grateful for the PPE that you’ve helped create. Below is a snapshot of messages we’ve received:


“God bless and thank you for the shields you sent out. With people like you, humanity still exists.”  


“Thank you so much for you compassion and Good Samaritan behavior guys! May the almighty bless you always!”  


“I just wanted to sincerely say thank you to you . . . and your whole team for what you are doing. We already have homes for the first 400…”  


“There is so much gratitude from the healthcare worker community and I wish I could capture their faces for you or the sound of relief in their voices when we tell them we are coming. I hope you all are able to get rest sometimes too, this will be a marathon for us all. Thank you again.”  


“Thank you so much for the production and donation of face shields to the Rolling Meadows Fire Department. The shields are now on each of our rigs and provide a layer of protection that our members previously did not have. On behalf of the men and women of RMFD, a sincere thank you for all that you are doing for first responders.”  



Thank YOU for making this possible with your generous contribution. You are helping DePaul do good, and do it well.

An update from Jay Margalus, Faculty Director of Makerspaces, DePaul University

April 02, 2020

Thanks to you, much progress has been made over the past several days and as expected, more work must be done. Led by DePaul, an ever-growing network, including people from Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Public Libraries, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Northwestern University, has increased production to about 6,500 shields/day, served 44 hospitals, raised over $10,000, and have hundreds of makers contributing to our efforts.


But now is not the time to sit down. Here is a message from Ashley Cohen, BSN, RN, who is leading a group of medical students delivering PPE to hospitals all around the City of Chicago: 


"PPE is the armor that protects our healthcare workers in the war on COVID-19. Due to the shortage that is crippling hospitals here in Chicago, our friends, our coworkers, our clinical professors are already getting sick. They were sent into battle without adequate protection. Hospitals are characteristically sticklers for safety…but are now accepting, even soliciting donations of cloth masks made by private citizens at home. This is because cloth masks are better than nothing at all. Refrigerated morgue trucks are now in use all over New York City to store the bodies of COVID-19 victims because there is no space left in hospital morgues and funeral homes. CDC models predict that the surge currently afflicting NYC will likely hit its peak here in Chicago in the coming weeks. We need all the armor we can get if we are to stand a chance in the coming battle. We welcome any and all help we can get in coming to the aid of Chicago's healthcare workers."


If we keep them healthy, they keep us healthy. Donors to this campaign have helped create and deliver 4,000 masks all around the city and state. Every additional $25 that you donate helps us fabricate and deliver 10 additional masks. In addition to your generosity, we are working hard to write grants and secure alternate sources of funding.


We will continue fundraising and creating PPE until there is no longer a need.


As a faculty and community member of DePaul University, I deeply believe in our Vincentian values of service to the community and others. I have been greatly touched by the outreach, kind words, and efforts of our students, faculty, staff and friends all around Chicago and all of Illinois this past week. Times like these show that these values of selflessness and service are values that we all commonly share. They are what’s required to help solve big problems.


This is who we are. This is what must be done.


Thank you again for your generosity. Please continue to share information about this campaign with your networks, and we will continue to keep you informed as to how your gift is helping health care workers across the state.


Thank you,

Jay Margalus

Faculty Director of Makerspaces, DePaul University


Photo: Jake J., a CDM senior majoring in game design, producing PPE. 

Great collaborations

March 31, 2020

Today we’re officially announcing that we’re collaborating with the Robert Bosch Tool Corporation (Mount Prospect, IL) and their subsidiary Dremel, who are bringing in over 100 3D printers and roughly 10 laser cutters to help with our PPE efforts.


What this means: Over the coming days, Bosch employees will be ramping their machines up. This will help put a dent in the capacity challenges we all currently face with the development of PPE.


We’d also like to highlight other organizations where individuals are currently contributing to our efforts, including Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Public Library, Museum of Science and Industry, and makerspaces all around the Chicagoland area. Without the contributions of these public servants, as well as DePaul students, faculty, and staff, none of this could be happening. It’s truly a community effort, and it’s one of the reasons I’m proud of being a DePaul community member with our commitment to public service.


People from around the state are stepping up to help doctors and first responders stay safe. Your funding is already helping doctors at Provident Hospital, University of Illinois Health (Chicago), Cook County Hospital, Swedish Covenant Hospital, Weiss Memorial Hospital, and Sinai Health System. That’s something to be proud of.


Thanks -

Jay Margalus

Faculty Director, Makerspaces, DePaul University

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