In the midst of a global pandemic, store closures, travel restrictions, layoffs, and more, industry players are responding to the crisis with compassion by stepping up and supporting the communities around them. We’re seeing brands and retailers shifting gears to make masks, hand sanitizers, and more resources needed by those who are vulnerable right now and it is inspiring. Together, we are not only keeping our industry moving forward but helping those in need.
Let’s take a look at the ways some brands, retailers, and businesses are spreading kindness within their communities.
Brands supporting a cause
Allbirds (Shoes): To support the health care communities that are working tirelessly to fight COVID-19, Allbirds donated $500,000 worth of shoes to health care workers across the country. They are also running a campaign for “buy-a-pair, give-a-pair” to a health worker.
Apostrophe (Skin Care): Pivoting production around for a greater cause. Apostrophe is using their production facilities to make hand sanitizer and is donating 100% of the proceeds to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Response Fund.
Sanctuary (Apparel): L.A.-based brand Sanctuary is producing over 5 million N95 masks to support the medical community across the country as they fight the virus. They are also launching a line of essential lifestyle masks for consumers designed to protect you from your surroundings, and each purchase of a mask allows Sanctuary to donate a mask to organizations in need.
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (Coffee): Bird Rock Coffee Roasters is a coffee shop and brand with locations throughout Southern California, and when they had to close shop amidst COVID-19 shelter-in-place regulations, almost 100 of their baristas were out of work. All proceeds of their Barista Relief Blend will be donated to their staff during this time of uncertainty.
Otherland (Candles): New York City-based Otherland is giving customers 10% off and donating 10% of all proceeds to their local Food Bank for NYC.
Retailers giving back
Walmart and Sam’s Club: Walmart and Sam’s Club support several communities across the United States and as COVID-19 spreads, they’re putting $550 million dollars towards supporting their customers, employees, and partners through rent relief and supply chain financing programs. A variety of small businesses such as hair and nail salons, optometrists, restaurant franchises, veterinary clinics, local and regional banks work within their stores, and for the month of April, Walmart and Sam’s Clubs will be waiving these businesses’ rent while monitoring additional support past April. To support the suppliers in their stores, Walmart and Sam’s Clubs are making changes to their Supply Chain financing program by working with their banks to allow qualified suppliers to get payments faster.
HEB: Texas retailer HEB has stayed ahead of the pandemic and supply-demand since the start, so much that they were able to have enough supplies stocked for their customers and donate 500,000 meals to food banks in San Antonio, TX. In addition, HEB is giving $3 million to support local organizations working to stop the spread of COVID-19 and has extended its sick leave policy and implemented social distancing measures quickly. They’ve also limited hours to keep up with the needs of stockers, have added a coronavirus hotline for employees in need of assistance or information, and gave employees a $2 an hour raise as many of them are interacting with the public daily during this pandemic.
Kroger: Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation announced a $3 million commitment to rapidly deploy hunger-relief resources to communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They hope through these efforts, children and families will have access to nutritious foods despite school being canceled and unemployment.
Albertsons: Another leading grocer, Albertsons Companies with its Albertsons Companies Foundation announced a pledge of $3 million and fundraiser to help families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Target: Target put together a $300 million investment package and will be donating $10 million dedicated to expanding relief and assistance to the Target Team Giving Fund that supports their employees who have been affected, to the state and local communities organizations that support those who have been impacted and are vulnerable, and to national organizations that help provide resources and equipment that is needed to fight the disease. Part of the investment package also provides its employees with financial backing to continue providing customers with necessities.
Companies equipping small businesses with resources
Wells Fargo and Bank of America: Banks across the country are showing up to support their communities, and specifically small businesses, by offering programs with deferred credit card payments to grant programs specific to a business’s needs.
Facebook: Recently, Facebook just launched a $100 million grant program for 30,000 small businesses in 30 countries around the world.
Verizon: Verizon is donating $2.5 million to the non-profit Local Initiatives Support Corporation for its Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Fund.
LinkedIn: To help you and your team work remotely, LinkedIn is offering for free a 16-part course on working remote.
1Password: For small-business owners, 1Password Business is offering its services for free for six months. Their service can help businesses working remotely securely share passwords and more.
With everything going on in the world, it’s encouraging to see businesses supporting other businesses and their surrounding communities. Whether established companies or emerging brands, there is inspiration in how we can all work together to keep the industry moving forward. We’re in this together and we’ll get through this together!
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