Corporate Funders Support COVID-19 Relief (Update – 04/09/2020)

Corporate Funders Support COVID-19 Relief (Update – 04/09/2020)

Mars, Inc. has pledged $20 million for COVID-19 relief efforts globally and in the communities where it operates. The commitment includes initial donations of $5 million to CARE in support of its work with vulnerable populations in countries least prepared for an outbreak of the virus; $2 million to the United Nations World Food Programme, for logistical support of emergency deliveries of food and lifesaving equipment to hospitals in COVID-impacted areas; and $1 million to the Humane Society International in support of its efforts to rescue pets whose owners are ill or no longer able to care for them. The remaining $12 million in cash and in-kind donations will include contributions from the Mars Wrigley, Banfield, Pedigree, and Tasty Bite foundations.

Private equity and asset management firm Blackstone has announced commitments totaling $15 million in support of coronavirus relief efforts in New York State, including $10 million to the New York State COVID-19 First Responders Fund. The remaining $5 million will support organizations working to meet food and other basic needs of New Yorkers, including City HarvestWorld Central KitchenGreat Performances, and Slice Out Hunger

AppleInsider reports that the software and consumer electronics giant Apple will donate $10 million to the One World: Together at Home benefit, a COVID-19 fundraiser organized by Global Citizen and the World Health Organization in collaboration with Lady Gaga. The event will benefit WHO's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Property and casualty insurer Chubb has announced a $10 million commitment through the Chubb Charitable Foundation in support of global COVID-19 relief efforts, with a focus on financially vulnerable populations and areas facing acute need. 

Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance and the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation have announced commitments totaling more than $4 million in support of COVID-19 relief efforts. Additional support from the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation is expected to push the total to more than $6.8 million. The funding includes $50,000 to the United Way of Dane County/Boys and Girls Club COVID Support Fund, a 2:1 match of employee donations to relief efforts, and a total of $275,000 to COVID-19 relief funds in communities where the American Family Insurance group has offices, including Boston, Denver, Green Bay, Jacksonville (Florida), Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Phoenix, St. Joseph (Missouri), and St. Louis.

The Rite Aid Foundation has announced a $5 million commitment in support of efforts to assist healthcare providers and first responders as well as children, families, employees, and communities impacted by the coronavirus. The foundation awarded $1.5 million to organizations working to address the needs of frontline workers, $1.5 million to regional emergency response funds in COVID-19 hotspots, $1 million to Feeding America and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and $1 million to the Rite Aid Foundation Associate Relief Fund.

As part of its efforts to assist communities during the COVID-19 crisis, the Allstate Foundation has pledged $5 million in support of domestic violence victims — who are at greater risk when sheltering in place with their abusers — as well as youth in need and first responders. The commitment includes $2 million to be allocated in communities where Allstate has large numbers of employees (the greater Chicago area and Illinois; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas; and Phoenix, Arizona); $1 million in support of first responders; $500,000 to the National Network to End Domestic Violence; $1.4 million to match employee donations on a one-to-one basis; and support for the National Runaway Safeline and Inner Explorer's free mindfulness program.

BBVA USA has announced commitments totaling more than $3.7 million in support of efforts to address the impacts of COVID-19, including $1 million in rapid response grants to select grantees of the BBVA Foundation working to meet basic needs and support small businesses across the bank's footprint. In addition, the company will award a total of $2 million to food banks and community development financial institutions supporting low-to-moderate income communities impacted by the public health crisis and is working to procure essential materials and public health support worth $500,000 for nonprofit partners, including gloves, hand sanitizer, and N95 masks. 

The Alliance for Education has announced a donation from Amazon of eighty-two hundred laptops, valued at $2 million, so that all Seattle Public School students can participate in online learning during the public health emergency. The donation will kickstart the Education Equity Fund, an initiative to provide underserved students with access to needed technology, technical support, and additional learning resources. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has announced commitments totaling $2 million in support of COVID-19 relief efforts, including $250,000 to six relief funds across the state and a reallocation of more than $1.75 million in community investments and strategic sponsorships to expedite unrestricted cash awards to help nonprofits meet operational challenges.

Morgan Stanley has announced a $250,000 grant to the Child Mind Institute as part of a $10 million commitment for coronavirus relief efforts. The grant will support the institute's efforts to provide digital mental health resources for children, adolescents, and young adults during the global health crisis — including Facebook Live video chats with expert clinicians, remote evaluations and telemedicine sessions, phone consultations for follow up, and daily parenting tips via email, with a focus on vulnerable communities.  

And with the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic as a national emergency, Foundation Source notes that corporate foundations can now provide disaster relief to their employees. While self-dealing regulations typically prohibit corporate foundations from making grants directly to employees, they are permitted to do so without pre-approval from the Internal Revenue Service in the case of a "qualified" disaster (i.e., one that is federally declared by the president). Provided all IRS requirements are met, Foundation Source further notes that employee disaster relief assistance should not result in taxable compensation to employees and will be counted as a charitable distribution toward the foundation's 5 percent payout requirement.

(Photo credit: WFP/Francisco Garrido)

"Mars Commits $20M to Communities in COVID-19 Response." Mars, Inc. Press Release 04/06/2020. "Blackstone Contributes $15 Million to COVID-19 Relief Efforts in New York." Blackstone Press Release 04/06/2020. "Chubb Commits $10 Million to Pandemic Relief Efforts Globally; Company Pledges No COVID-19 Layoffs." Chubb Press Release 04/05/2020. "American Family Insurance, Foundations Pledge Support to COVID-19 Relief." American Family Insurance Press Release 04/02/2020. "The Rite Aid Foundation Donates $5MM to Address COVID-19 Pandemic." Rite Aid Foundation Press Release 04/07/2020. "The Allstate Foundation Contributes $5 Million to Help Domestic Violence Victims, Youth in Need and First Responders." Allstate Foundation Press Release 04/07/2020. "BBVA USA Commits More Than $3.7 Million in Community Support, Offers Special Employee Benefits Amid COVID-19." BBVA USA Press Release 04/06/2020. "Amazon Donates 8,200 Laptops to Seattle Public School Elementary Families, Helping to Close the 'Continuous Learning' Gap for All Students Amid Covid-19 Pandemic." Alliance for Education Press Release 04/06/2020. "Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Massachusetts Commits $2M to COVID-19 Community Relief." Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Press Release 04/06/2020. "Morgan Stanley Announces Grant to the Child Mind Institute to Support Children’s Mental Health During the COVID-19 Crisis." Morgan Stanley Press Release 04/06/2020. "National Emergency Declaration Concerning COVID-19 Enables Corporate Foundations to Assist Employees." Foundation Source 04/02/2020.