While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies into difficult financial decisions, including reduction of force, there have been plenty of companies stepping up to the plate during these difficult times to provide support to their communities.
With school closures and job disruptions, more people are turning to food banks to feed their families. Many relief organizations including Feeding America have asked for help to meet the increased need because of the pandemic, and companies like BlackRock have stepped up to the plate.
The global investment management firm has committed $50 million of phased funding to worldwide relief efforts, starting with $23 million to support food banks, frontline workers and community institutions working directly with vulnerable populations.
“There’s no doubt that there is much uncertainty ahead as we continue to address this fast-moving global challenge, an effort that we believe will require unparalleled global cooperation,” BlackRock said on its COVID-19 response page in late March. “We’re committed to doing everything we can as part of that response to ensure our communities are resilient in the face of this unprecedented challenge. We’ll keep all our stakeholders informed of what we learn as we tackle this crisis together.”
The initial funding phase included recipients from Feeding America to local food banks where BlackRock employees volunteer, such as City Harvest in New York City, SF-Marin and Alameda County food banks in the Bay Area, and the Atlanta Community Foundation. The company also donated to food bank networks in Italy, Spain, France, Germany and India, as well as to the Global FoodBanking Network to help meet ongoing needs in Asia and Latin America.
American Express is also supporting Feeding America and its network of 200 food banks across the country. The company encouraged customers to give to the organization and said it is matching any donation their U.S. Card Members make to Feeding America using Membership Rewards points, up to $1 million. American Express committed to $5 million in various forms of financial support to help fight the spread of COVID-19. This included $2 million in grants to the International Medical Corps, the CDC Foundation and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization.
Expensify has focused its efforts on helping families who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to make ends meet during this difficult time. The software company has redirected all its charitable funds toward reimbursing up to $50 per family for essential goods and groceries purchased on their SNAP card. Every Expensify.org donation and Expensify card purchase directly contributes to this cause.
“Expensify.org’s mission is to maximize generosity by making giving and volunteering more convenient, meaningful, and fun,” the company said. “To bring this mission to life, we’ve reimagined the donation and volunteering process. Our direct giving model encourages transparency for all, allowing our donors and volunteers to make positive, permanent changes on an individual scale.”
Autonomous Cars to the Rescue
Optimus Rides, a startup that specializes in developing driverless vehicles for urban transportation, announced that they will be deploying three of their cars for contactless grocery deliveries to low-income households in Southeast Washington D.C.
German IKEA Provides Space for Ramadan
An IKEA outlet in Germany opened up its parking lot to local Islamic communities so they could celebrate the end of Ramadan while still respecting social distancing guidelines. More than 800 Muslims attended the prayers.
Gym Owner Lends Equipment to Members
Drew Whitted, owner of the Be Strong Gym in Bloomington, Illinois, allowed members to sign out more than $40,000 worth of equipment to use at home, free of charge, during the state’s stay-at-home order.
Kroger Providing Workers with ‘Thank You’ Pay
The Kroger Co. earmarked $130 million for special Thank You Pay to hourly grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates to acknowledge their dedication to maintaining safe, clean and stocked stores. This follows multiple Hero Bonuses that were paid in April through mid-May, with the final payment occurring May 23. Thank You Pay will be $400 for qualified, full-time associates and $200 for qualified, part-time associates paid out in two installments on May 30 and June 18.
See the full list of organizations WorldatWork has identified as a part of our #KeepTheWorldatWork campaign. If you know of a company we missed, email us and we'll add them to the list.
About the Author
Brett Christie is the managing editor of Workspan Daily.