The Companies Supporting The Fight Against Covid-19
No matter size or location, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every industry. As businesses lay off workers, healthcare professionals struggle to access urgent equipment and politicians grapple with economic shutdowns and social tolls, companies across the globe are stepping up to help those on the frontline of the fight against the deadly virus.
Many, like Nike, Walmart, and Starbucks, are extending benefits to workers while stores are closed or time off is needed. Executives are taking cuts in solidarity with workers, and many are joining hands with their employees to make large donations of money or products, or diverting resources to make essential items, pivoting and innovating in a time of need.
Luxury fashion brands are sewing masks, beverage companies are distilling sanitizer, manufacturing brands are building ventilators, and many are donating to feeding families, supporting workers, and finding a cure to fight the deadly virus.
Here is a list, by no means exhaustive, of companies supporting those on the frontlines.
Technology and Entertainment
Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese tech giant Alibaba, is sending 1.1 million testing kits, 6 million masks and 60,000 protective suits and face shields to the African continent. Through the Jack Ma Foundation he is also donating 400,000 test kits, 2 million masks and 104 ventilators to 24 South American countries, and around one million masks to US healthcare workers.
Amazon has hired around 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers due to a surge in online ordering because of the pandemic. It is increasing hourly pay for workers in the US, Canada, the UK, and many European countries. The company is also donating millions of dollars to research and testing efforts.
Apple has released a website and iOS app allowing users to screen themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 on top of donating more than 10 million respirator masks across the United States and millions more in Europe. The company is also matching employee donations towards relief efforts two to one and has raised $15 million for those on the frontlines of the fight against the virus.
Facebook announced it would dedicatee $100 million to help news organizations badly effected by the financial fallout. $25 million will go to help small newsrooms in the United States and the remaining $75 million will go into advertising in publications across the US, and pandemic hotspots in Europe including Spain and Italy. The company has offered free ad credits to the World Health Organization and others to give accurate information on COVID-19, and it’s donating more than 700,000 masks to healthcare workers.
Google has committed $800 million to help small and medium sized businesses, health organizations and governments and healthcare workers fighting the pandemic with much of money will go towards free advertising. The company is also matching contributions employees make to charities, and it increasing its support systems allowing the production of protective equipment for medical workers. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, Verily and X, is also facilitating increased production of ventilators.
Microsoft has released a chatbot in conjunction with the Centre for Disease Control to answer peoples questions about the virus, and it has created a COVID-19 tracking tool through Bing. The company is working on machine learning and data projects to support research efforts. The Gates Foundation has also donated $100 million to virus research.
The media services provider and production company has created a $100 million relief fund, much of which will be spent to support the hardest hit workers on the platform’s own suspended productions. The company is also donating to entertainment-worker related relief funds in Canada, the United States, and Britain, and it will coordinate with industry organizations across Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Fashion and Beauty
The Armani Group is using its Italian factories to manufacture single use overalls for health care workers as the country continues its fight against the novel coronavirus. Giorgio Armani has also donated $2.2 million to hospitals and the civil protection agency in the country.
As one of the leading beauty manufacturers, Estee Lauder has reopened facilities to make hand sanitizer and is donating 10,000 bottles to New York state each week. The company is also donating two million surgical masks to health workers in the state and has pledged $2 million to Doctors Without Borders/Medicins Sans Frontieres to support treatment of the virus in countries that lack adequate resources.
The owner of the Spanish based company that includes retail store Zara will continue to pay workers until at least April 15 while the country is under lockdown and has transformed factories into production hubs for medical supplies (masks, gowns and gloves). Founder Amancio Ortega has donated 800,000 masks and 75,000 protective gowns to his country’s fight.
The Kering Group, which includes Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, is shipping 3 million surgical masks from China to give to French hospitals and is transforming Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent’s French manufacturing sites into mask producers. The group has also made donations to research and relief funds in Europe and China.
L'Oréal has started producing alcohol based hand sanitizer for employees and healthcare professionals in the United States, and is making N95 respirator and surgical masks at its factories in Arkansas and New Jersey donate to local hospitals. The company is also donating money and resources to Feeding America and other nonprofits.
LVMH, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, has turned its perfume factories into hand sanitizer manufacturers, is shipping face masks from China to help French healthcare workers access supplies, and has donated millions to charity in the fight against Coronavirus.
The company announced it is donating $10.9 million towards the construction of a new hospital in Milan that will have 400 intensive care beds.
Nike is prototyping face shields and manufacturing personal protective equipment to support healthcare workers. The company has donated $15 million to relief efforts, particularly around its Portland headquarters. It has also made the premium section of its popular exercise app Nike Training Club free, so everyone can work out with guidance in their own homes.
The co-CEOs and brand chairman of Prada have donated two resuscitation and complete intensive care units to three Milan hospitals. The company has also started producing gowns and masks in its factories that will be given to healthcare workers.
On top of manufacturing 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns for healthcare workers in the United States, Ralph Lauren is donating $10 million to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and others that support employees, the community and international cancer institutions looking after the vulnerable.
Ford Motor Company
Ford is working alongside General Electric’s healthcare division to produce 50,000 ventilators in the next 100 days. Ford plans to make 30,000 ventilators a month once the initial batch has been made in its Michigan plant. The company is also working with 3M, GE Healthcare and the United Autoworkers union to produce powered-air purifying respirators and other medical equipment.
General Motors is working with Ventec Life Systems to build 10,000 ventilators per month starting in May, and is producing other medical equipment.
GE will focus on manufacturing products to be donated to healthcare workers and first responders across the US over the next two weeks. That will include making appliances to keep food and medicine safe, dishes and laundry sanitized, and food prepared and donating them to healthcare workers, firefighters, paramedics and police officers.
Serta Simmons Bedding
The company is donating 10,000 mattresses to New York City hospitals and medical facilities in partnership with Relief Bed International in response to the shortage of hospital beds facing the city.
The transnational consumer company is donating more than $8 million worth of soap, personal hygiene and home cleaning products, and food to those effected by the pandemic, and it is partnering with Feeding America to distribute the products to food banks nationwide. It will also donate 200,000 masks to New Jersey hospitals.
Food and Beverage
Bacardi Limited is donating $3 million to global organizations supporting hospitality workers and their children, many of whom have been laid off because of COVID-19 mandated closures, on top of $1 million the brand’s Patron tequila pledged.
The company is donating $12 million to support communities suffering the impact of COVID-19, including donating $4.7 million in products such as macaroni and cheese, gravy, mixed nuts, frozen meals to Feeding America for its network of food banks.
Makers Mark has partnered with The LEE Initiative to start the Restaurant Workers Relief Program that gives funds 14 restaurants across the US to provide free meals and supplies to laid off hospitality workers.
Starbucks is giving free coffee to first responders and front line workers fighting the pandemic until May, and it is donating $500,000 towards coronavirus response efforts half of which will take the form of care packages for healthcare workers, and the rest will go to funding protective personal equipment and medical supplies.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Tito’s is using alcohol to distill 24 tons of hand sanitizer over the next several weeks that it will hand out for free. The company plans to keep on producing amounts dependent on need. It is also donating $2 million to organizations supporting laid off food service workers.
Housing and Travel
Airbnb is providing free or subsidized housing for around 100,000 first respondents, and healthcare and relief workers, waiving all fees for stays arranged through its initiative.
The car rental company is offering free vehicle rentals for healthcare workers until the end of April.
Jetblue is flying medical professionals and needed supplies across the country at no charge, working alongside nonprofit partners and government agencies to provide services. It is also helping students who need to get to family, friends or permanent housing during this stressful time.
U-Haul is giving free storage to college students in the US and Canada after campus closures have unexpectedly forced them out of their homes. The AMERCO-owned company can only offer the students 30 days of free storage due to limited availability.
The teledentistry company is using its 3D printing facility to produce medical supplies such as face shields and respirator masks, and is looking at how it could use its capabilities to make other needed medical supplies.
The pharmaceutical company is donating more than 6 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets to hospitals across the United States. The drug has not been approved by the FDA for treatment against COVID-19, but it is under investigation and in high demand.
As relief efforts continue there’s no doubt more companies and their leaders will join the fight against COVID-19 and its devastating effects, continuing to show the importance of solidarity amongst the business community, even during its own destabilization.