These Big Names and Big Brands are Giving Back to Assist in the Fight Against COVID-19
Updated: Nov 26
Booze and Zoom excluded; there are very few businesses that have not been walloped by this pandemic.
We at WAT love those that help others. So, we took a close look at different industries to see who was doing what to help those in need. There are several companies and individuals who have taken the call for help.
So, grab your pots and pans, honk your horns, and get ready to sing the praises and applaud those below who are giving back in a big way.
Christian Siriano, former Project Runway star, now world-renowned designer, decided to take matters into his own hands. After watching New York’s governor Cuomo express that he needed the Defense Protection Act (which is an executive order for all companies to start manufacturing medical supplies and PPE when in desperate need), Siriano stepped up and out onto the relief runway and got busy.
After receiving patterns and materials, Siriano and his team were in full swing, one of the first to produce much-needed masks. Siriano was also looking out for his employees. As all participants were volunteering, Siriano provided private cars and lunch and committed to a strict schedule of taking temps twice daily.
Ralph Lauren made one of the most significant donations to date in the luxury sector, promising $10 million to relief efforts. The company also started production of 250,000 masks and over 20,000 isolation gowns.
The above money and materials aside, the brand has also donated an undisclosed amount of money to help supplement designers who are affected by the economic shift. Also, their furloughed workers will still receive health benefits through the company. Ralph Lauren executives are taking pay cuts to cover everything, including the Employee Relief Fund.
London-based Burberry has decided to take their efforts one step further by funding research being developed by the University of Oxford for vaccinations against COVID-19. The head of Medical Sciences at the University of Oxford stated that these donations, “Have a real and rapid impact,” and allow the NHS and more to be agile and responsive to this research.
Besides this philanthropic donation, they have also repurposed their Yorkshire trench coat factory to manufacture non-surgical masks and gowns. Utilizing their global supply chain, they are fast-tracking the delivery of over 100,000 surgical masks for the UK’s National Health Service workers. Giving back is always in fashion.
New England Patriots Owner
After being outbid by the federal government for PPE, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker took the matter into his own hands. He went public with the state’s dire need for more PPE. That’s when Patriots owner Robert Kraft picked up the ball and ran with the request.
Kraft orchestrated a trip to China, taking the Pats private plane on this unprecedented quick trip. It was a serious powerplay, one that brought back 1.2 million surgical masks. Nine hundred thousand were for the state of Massachusetts. Three hundred thousand were tossed to the neighboring state of New York. Talk about teamwork!
New Orleans Pelicans Player
He may be a newcomer in the NBA; however, Zion Williamson is far from new to being in the headlines as this mega-talent from Duke was the number one NBA draft pick in 2019. However, his biggest play of this season may be one that he made off of the bench.
In an Instagram post, Williamson said, "Some of the most special people I have met are those who work at Smoothie King Center." He also said they have been "incredibly welcoming and supportive" since his draft in June 2019.
"These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization. My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful to others and being grateful for what we have. So today, I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days." He remains number one in our book.
New Orleans Saints Quarterback
Another Louisiana professional athlete, Drew Brees, is truly a saint. Brees and his wife announced that they are pledging five million dollars to the state of Louisiana in 2020, with an emphasis on helping local communities get through this pandemic.
Besides the monetary donation, Brees is also utilizing his partnerships with local and national organizations and is assisting in mobilizing them. With the help of local food banks, health care systems, and restaurants, they will be providing over 10,000 meals a day for, however, as long as needed for children, families, and seniors in Louisiana. Talk about a touchdown.
Dallas Mavericks Owner & Shark Tank Star
In early March, before America was greatly affected, Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban set a precedent in the industry. He tweeted that his employees will be reimbursed for eating at local restaurants or cafes. In addition to wanting to help his team of employees, Cuban has a vested interest in stabilizing the economy and supporting local business owners as well.
Once the NBA suspended their season, this Shark was quick to jump into his tank, promising to pay the hourly wages of stadium employees. Cuban stated that the way companies handle this outbreak and their employees at this time will affect them and their brand “for decades” to come. We agree.
World Central Kitchen
Jose Andres is always stirring the pot in the best way possible. When there is a disaster, Andres is there with an army of people and tables of food. This incident was no different.
Partnering with the local Washington Nationals baseball team, chef Jose Andres and his global nonprofit, World Central Kitchen will use two kitchens in the park to prepare hot meals, along with local restaurants.
Initially, they will make 5,000 meals daily. The plan is to make tens of thousands of meals a day, distributed via Uber Eats to local communities around the park and the homeless. There are several partners, players, and people at-bat here to make this the home run that it is.
Jose Andres continues to step up to plate to help several throughout the country. He was on The Today Show last week, giving nurses the hot meals that they dearly missed since away. Nurses staying in hotels in the city made a stop at an NYC restaurant before being bussed to their respective hospitals for the day. Jose Andres and crew were there with hot meals and smiles. He will continue to feed the nurses on the daily while in town.
It doesn’t stop there. Once Andres restaurants reopen, doctors and nurses eat for free for one year. There isn’t a pot or pan big enough to applaud his many efforts.
During this shutdown, Starbucks has closed its cafes and is only offering delivery and drive-through services. The buzz is that they are paying employees during this period, whether they stay at home or not. In addition to looking out for their own, Starbucks is also offering free coffee to health care workers and first responders.
The Starbucks Foundation is also donating $500,000 for care packages and medical supplies to hospitals and frontline workers. While this Seattle-based brand is far from the hardest-hit, they are doing great things inside and outside of their company.
COTY & Kylie Cosmetics
Kylie Jenner’s most influential move to date may be taking the US Surgeon General’s call and request to alert her generation or at least her nearly 170 million followers on Instagram to take COVID-19 seriously. She encouraged them to keep up with what was necessary in today’s new world. It was time to drop the selfie stick and commit to a self-quarantine. Maybe ease up on social media and get busy with your social distancing.
The dynamic duo of Kylie Jenner and momager Kris Jenner took their commitment to all of this a few steps further. Aside from Kylie's one million dollar monetary donation, the duo, together with Coty, who recently bought a $600 million stake in Kylie Cosmetics, partnered to make hand sanitizers for hospitals in Southern California. They are also donating sanitizers to emergency and health care workers on the front lines of COVID-19.
While the US’s largest beauty retailer's stores remain closed, ULTA Beauty will give an additional $2 premium pay raise for their distribution center employees who continue to work through the pandemic. Ulta is not only continuing to pay its employees, but it continues to provide benefits for those employees already enrolled in company benefit programs.
In addition, Ulta’s CEO Mary Dillon, will forgo her base salary indefinitely and has made a personal donation of $500,000 to the Ulta Beauty Associate Relief Program, which assists associates dealing with financial hardship at this time. Also, Ulta is collaborating with FEMA by donating 450,000 medical-grade gloves from its in-store salons to hospitals. Thinking about others is a beautiful thing.
Drizly is a brilliant Boston-based app, which delivers libations right to your door. The company, which performs in 180 markets in 26 states, has seen a nearly 1,600% growth of new customers in March. They estimate far more fans and followers in the coming months.
The e-commerce company has partnered with over 2,200 retailers in the US. So, by getting booze delivered to your door, you are, in essence supporting local boozy businesses, be it liquor stores, wine shops, and beer distributors. We will drink to that!!
Shine Distillery & Grill
Portland’s Shine Distillery and Grill started to manufacture hand sanitizers straight out of the gate. With the equipment in house and the alcohol good to go, they said it just made sense. They were quick to hand out the hand sanitizers locally. They are committed to supporting their people and preventing the further spread of COVID-19 in their community.
In an attempt to keep their business buzzing, they are also making and selling more substantial quantities of their sanitizer to more larger companies in need.
Small, local booze businesses aren’t the only ones shifting gears during this period. After the FDA announced they would allow this manufacturing as long as it follows their guidelines, larger companies like Pernod Ricard, Anheuser-Busch, and more are partaking in this as well.
We can continue with a round of applause for all, the above-mentioned and the endless list of individuals and companies that are missing in this. In addition, we can never repay those in the medical community, the first responders, the bus drivers, grocery store employees, UPS drivers, and all of the folks putting their health and their lives on the line in this challenging time. A scream, a song,a hand, a pot and a pan are far from enough.
Health and happiness to all!
Written by Casey Lauer and Karen Loftus