With the coronavirus wreaking havoc around the globe, retailers are stepping up. Some online retailers are donating funds to support various causes, while others are transforming their operations to produce necessary supplies, such as face masks, ventilators and other equipment.
As of April 1 (and time of publication), 355 companies have donated $3.0 billion in grants to 98 recipients, according to Candid.org, which tracks grant distribution and funding toward the coronavirus relief programs. Donors include Alibaba Group, Facebook Inc., Google and more. In the top three donor categories, companies have donated $2.94 billion to organizations that combat infectious and parasitic diseases, $2.75 billion to disaster relief causes and $2.61 billion to medical support services.
Candid.org updates automatically as data and news are added to its database. The data is derived from news articles, funders who directly share their funding data with Candid and other sources. The news section pulls from 300,000 source articles that it regularly scans for relevant information. It did not respond to a request for comment on when it started gathering the data.
Among the retailers dedicating funds:
- Walmart Inc. (No. 3 in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000) announced it and the Walmart Foundation will donate $25 million to organizations responding to the outbreak. That includes $5 million to support global efforts to help countries prevent, detect and manage the coronavirus; $10 million to support food banks, school meal programs and organizations that provide access to food for underserved populations; and $10 million to support efforts in local communities in the United States and international markets.
- Target Corp. (No. 16) says The Target Foundation will be giving $10 million to expand relief and assistance to its employees, as well as local, national and global organizations responding to the pandemic. This includes $3 million to support national nonprofits, such as Feeding America and $1 million to support organizations such as UNICEF.
- The Kroger Co. (No. 17) says The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation is committing $3 million to “support our neighbors in this critical time of need.”
- Lowe’s Cos. Inc. (No. 23) is committing $25 million to support its associates, customers and communities, which includes a $10 million donation in essential protective products for medical professionals. It also began a campaign called #BuildThanks, encouraging consumers to create do-it-yourself “Thank You” messages for healthcare workers on the frontline using objects they already have at home. Lowe’s encourages shoppers on April 6 to display their DIY Thank You messages in their front yards, windows, porches and home exteriors.
- Nuts.com is encouraging website visitors to donate to Feeding America. Plus, the retailer pledged to match donations up to $100,000. As of March 25, the Nuts.com website shows that it has received 1,211 donations, totaling $44,565. Nuts.com matched that amount with its own contributions, making its total contribution to Feeding America $89,130. In addition, Nuts.com is pledging to contribute $2 of every sale of selected products to Feeding America. A note to that effect appears on the product pages for those items. This second campaign, which also began as the coronavirus spread, is “a way for customers to support the cause while also filling their pantries, in lieu of straight cash donations,” says David Lerner, head of product at Nuts.com.
- Tech giant Google has pledged $800 million in relief funds to its customers and health workers, which includes $250 million in advertising credits for World Health Organization, $340 million to small businesses to run promotions with Google and $20 million to give researchers working on the novel virus credits to use the company’s cloud-computing services, said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and parent Alphabet Inc.
- Apparel retailer Frye is donating $1 to Feeding America for every Instagram post a shopper posts using the hashtag #AtHomeWithFRYE to encourage people to remain at home.
- Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1) says it is investing $20 million to accelerate diagnostic research, innovation and development “to speed our collective understanding and detection of COVID-19 and other innovate diagnostic solutions to mitigate future infectious disease outbreaks.
- Ahold Delhaize (No. 22), the grocery retail group in charge of brands including Stop & Shop, Food Lion and Giant Food, is donating a $10 million relief package to address critical needs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic: $2 million for its employees and their families in times of need; $3.5 million to feed and care for communities on the East Coast through its local brands’ efforts; $3 million through its local brands to support other organizations; and $1.5 million to provide pivotal funding to support medical research to create a vaccine and cure for COVID-19.
- Grocery retailer Thrive Market’s Thrive Gives program recently launched a COVID-19 Relief Fund for families in need. To date, it has raised more than $200,000 and given grocery stipends to more than 1300 families in need.
- Yoga apparel retailer Lululemon’s senior leadership team is reducing its salaries by 20%. It pans to use the cost savings to establish the new We Stand Together Fund to aid employees affected by the current COVID-19 crisis who are facing hardships in their lives.
Among the retailers producing or donating supplies:
- Walmart Supercenter is allowing two of its parking lots in the Chicago area to be converted into sites where first responders and healthcare workers who have potentially been exposed to the coronavirus can be tested to see if they have COVID-19.
- Target plans to set up temporary testing locations for consumers who think they may have the coronavirus, the retailer said. “We’re currently working with officials and task force partners to identify select Target real estate that can serve as temporary testing locations, and on the specific testing details,” Target wrote. (It has not provided an update on these testing locations.)
- HP Home & Home Office Store (No. 61), which sells computers, printers and office supplies, says it is donating millions of dollars in technology to help students, families and communities. It is also “mobilizing our 3D-printing team and HP’s digital manufacturing partner network to design, validate and produce essential parts for medical responders and hospitals. This includes parts such as ventilator valves, breathing filters and face mask clasps, as well as entirely new parts such as plastic door handle adaptors which enable easy elbow opening to prevent further spread of the virus,” the retailer wrote in a press release. “We will make available any HP proprietary design files for these parts so they can be produced anywhere in the world.”
- Winter apparel retailer Canada Goose (No. 204) will use two of its manufacturing facilities in Toronto and Winnipeg for production of necessary medical gear—mainly scrubs and patient gowns—for healthcare workers and patients to distribute to hospitals this week. The retailer’s goal is to produce 10,000 units of scrubs and gowns with about 50 workers in each facility. “Now is the time to put our manufacturing resources and capabilities to work for the greater good,” said president and CEO Dani Reiss in a press release. “Our employees are ready, willing and able to help, and that’s what we’re doing. It’s the Canadian thing to do.”
- Google plans to work with Magid Glove and Safety Manufacturing LLC, a supplier based in Illinois, to produce 2-3 million face masks in the coming weeks.
- LVMH (No. 20), the world’s largest luxury goods company and owner of the Louis Vuitton brand, is joining the fight to help combat the coronavirus in France by making large quantities of hand sanitizer. The luxury goods brand during the week of March 16 converted three of its cosmetic facilities to manufacture hydro-alcoholic gel for French health authorities for free. The gel will be provided for as long as necessary.
- Sports apparel and merchandise retailer Fanatics (owned by Kynetic LLC, No. 14) plans to convert its Easton, Pennsylvania, facility that makes official MLB jerseys into facilities that produce masks and gowns for hospital workers, according to Fanatics founder Michael Rubin. It will use jersey fabric to produce the products.
- Apple Inc. (No. 2) last week developed a screening tool and set of resources to help consumers stay informed, based on the latest CDC guidance. The COVID-19 website and COVID-19 app are available on the Apple app store and were created in partnership with the CDC, the White House Coronavirus Task Force and FEMA. On the app and website, consumers can answer a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure and symptoms for themselves or a loved one. Then, they will receive CDC recommendations on suggested next steps, such as social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, whether or not a test is recommended and when to contact a medical professional.