There’s no doubt about it, we’re in unique times. Much like the global financial crisis over a decade ago, COVID-19 is something that has affected millions of families all over the world. Starting in Asia and moving West to Europe, the US is now one of the worst affected countries. With countries in lockdown, and hundreds of millions of people unable to stray too far from their home, COVID-19 will go down as one of the biggest global stories in human history.
In addition to the sad tales, there have also been some happier ones of neighborhoods coming together and companies supporting their workers (and the COVID-19 relief effort as a whole). Today, we want to highlight some companies who are doing just that.
A number of startups have combined to launch the Brands x Better coalition. All the brands in the coalition pledged a percentage of their profits to nonprofits helping those in need during the crisis. While some brands are in technology, others sell outdoor goods and other products. Anywhere between 2% and 10% of sales revenue (depending on the brand in question) is donated straight to City Harvest, Direct Relief and various other nonprofits.
As a consumer, we highly recommend looking through this list of brands and seeing if anything on your to-buy list is available with them. In fact, you might even bag a bargain because some are encouraging business with bundle deals and special discounts.
For any small businesses reading this, you can get involved with this initiative. The coalition is available to all brands, as long as you’re willing to donate a minimum of 2% of all revenue or 10% of direct sales. At the time of writing this, nearly 30 brands are involved and 50 are waiting on applications to process.
With health services and professionals seeking medical equipment, the fashion industry will have an important role in the coming months, and they’re already responding to the call. For example, Zara’s parent company Inditex has manufactured surgical masks for health professionals. According to reports, it has now sent thousands of masks to Spain and their hospitals in need.
Meanwhile, Ralph Lauren has already made a sizeable donation to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. In total, it’s believed that it has donated around $10 million to various organizations helping with the relief effort.
Elsewhere, a number of beauty brands have taken action, including the following:
Along with these names, Pacific Shaving Company has been giving back to its home city of San Francisco and several other cities across the country. For a period in March, 100% of profits from the website went straight to the CDC Foundation. In April, donations have continued, and it has plans to help cities across the US. The founders themselves have spent time in the San Francisco Food Bank while also sending masks to hospitals in the area.
We also want to mention True Botanicals, a brand that has been focusing on a side-effect of the COVID-19 pandemic that often gets forgotten: mental health. With the #TakeCare campaign on social media, the idea has been to spread positivity despite the social distancing and lockdown measures that have shut down the country. Not only this, it has introduced a sale on products and donated 10% of all sales to food banks.
For many brands, the main goal in regards to COVID-19 is to stay in business. Even companies that can boast decades of experience have revealed the struggles of maintaining business and surviving. Despite such challenges, Microsoft recently announced that those who support company campuses would continue to receive pay (even though they weren’t necessarily needed during this time). This includes shuttle drivers, cafe workers, and others who support its many sites.
Other companies that take a similar stance for employees include:
One of the positives to come out of the COVID-19 relief effort has been the willingness of major companies (and sometimes rivals) to work together. A prime example of this has been Amazon and Microsoft; working alongside Starbucks, the three have planned a Response Fund while working with the City of Seattle and King County. The two tech giants are leading the response fund and have committed to donating $1 million each (Starbucks will donate $250,000).
It’s no secret that Amazon has enjoyed success ever since the start of lockdown procedures around the world. With people ordering products to stay fit, healthy and entertained during lockdown, Amazon is one of the rare companies that can take on new employees.
Recently, it announced plans to support small businesses in Seattle with $5 million. This was great news for companies that would have otherwise needed to close their doors. We hope it will allow some high-potential companies to come out the other side.
When discussing technology and Microsoft, it’s hard to ignore the efforts of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Working in conjunction with MasterCard and Wellcome, the Foundation has donated a whopping $125 million to help develop treatments for the ailment.
Similarly, relief efforts will receive a welcome boost from Facebook thanks to its $20 million donation. Apple decided on a $15 million donation and allowed all customers to forgo the March payment on their Apple Cards (no interest).
Here are some other generous companies that have pushed targets and growth to the side to help with the COVID-19 relief effort:
B&H Video - Hospitals around NYC have received equipment from this photo, audio and video brand.
Mango Languages - K-12 schools are eligible to receive free language classes for the entirety of the 2019-2020 school year.
Lush - Admirably, all Lush stores are allowing people to come in off the street and wash their hands.
Lyft - If any driver is diagnosed with COVID-19, Lyft is willing to support the individual. Even if a driver is put into quarantine without diagnosis, the brand has committed to helping them financially until they get back on their feet. Drivers have also been given cleaning supplies such as hand sanitizer thanks to Lyft’s cooperation with EO Products.
Zoom - Much like Mango Languages, Zoom has opened video conferencing tools to all K-12 schools at no charge. In addition to the United States, this is available for schools in Japan and Italy.
Walt Disney World Resort - In March, Disney made the difficult decision to close all resorts. After doing this, it decided that all excess food would be sent to Second Harvest Food Bank.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car - To help students get home, Enterprise Rent-A-Car reduced their minimum age to 18 (from 21) and removed the young renter fee. At every branch in the US, students can take advantage of this offer until the end of May.
Casetify - When customers buy the UV Hand Sanitizer from Casetify, 100% of their money will go to the Relief Fund from Global Giving. This product has become so popular that shipping is around one month behind.
Coach - We’ve mentioned the difficulties that small businesses face to stay afloat, but The Coach Foundation is another aiming to make life easier. Working with New York City and Goldman Sachs, it has donated $2 million to these ventures.
Dyson - For many hospitals, PPE and other equipment shortages have caused a huge problem. Thankfully, companies like Dyson are coming to the rescue and donating ventilators.
We’re happy to see companies donating to leading causes during a time when they’re most certainly needed.
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