COVID-19 Stories: Michigan Ross Alum’s Student-Run Nonprofit at U-M Creates Local Impact Through Medical Supplies Donations

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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Blueprints for Pangaea - a student-run nonprofit medical surplus recovery organization at the University of Michigan founded by Ben Rathi, BBA ’17 - coordinated a donation of around 700 plastic face shields to four health and family services centers across Washtenaw County in Michigan. 

Since Blueprints for Pangaea was started in 2014, the organization has worked to provide sustainable solutions to inefficient health care resource distribution. Its business model is simple: utilize and redistribute excess medical supplies to places in need.

Rishita Gudeti, BBA ’23, joined Blueprints in February 2020 because of the organization’s impact to aid in medical resource equality and providing a sustainable solution to produce resources, sometimes beyond necessity. 

“Global healthcare and quality of life are two factors I believe are extremely important in ensuring the welfare of individuals and Blueprints made it possible for me to pursue this,” Gudeti said. 

She explained that COVID-19 has encouraged the organization to focus on the immediate impact they can make, as many hospitals and businesses are lacking essential PPE and other medical resources. Blueprints is able to aggregate supplies and give them to companies that are short supplies.

Putting Ross learning into action  

As an analyst in the organization, Gudeti works closely with a team on projects relating to development and spreading awareness of Blueprints. Gudeti has leveraged skills and lessons from her Ross courses in her work and credits her business communications course in helping her with reaching out to individuals outside of her organization. 

“Blueprints has allowed me to take the theoretical aspects of business I have learned at Ross and put them into action through practices such as stakeholder analysis,” Gudeti said. “In the future, I am excited to see the Ross curriculum further apply to Blueprints’ operations.”

Gudeti shared that her favorite part of being a part of Blueprints is being able to see the true impact of an idea and mission. 

“A particularly impactful experience for me was actually the first time I went to inventory medical supplies at our warehouse. It was mind blowing to see the amount of supplies we had gathered and to truly understand the impact of the work we had been doing through working for grants, organizing shipments, coordinating with Michigan Medicine, and everything else we had been doing became real,” she said.

In the coming weeks, the Blueprints plans to donate 300-400 additional face shields to various Detroit organizations in collaboration with its Wayne State chapter. Additionally, 4,000 face masks will be transported to support Ann Arbor and Detroit frontline organizations throughout the rest of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more about Blueprints for Pangaea