Crises can bring out the best in us. It can be hard to believe that when headlines are crowded with toilet paper hoarders or raucous spring breakers under the impression that they're invincible, but it's true. A paper by the University of Delaware's Disaster Research Center found that assumptions about people acting in their own best interest during a crisis are "fundamentally incorrect" and that "human beings…typically rise to the daunting challenges that disasters pose."
And that's exactly what we're seeing in terms of how individuals and companies are reaching out and taking care of their communities during this unprecedented nationwide response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Distilleries everywhere from Brooklyn to Bristol are converting their production lines to make hand sanitizer instead of spirits. Online tools companies are making their products free to use, including Adobe, which is giving students and teachers free at-home Creative Cloud access.
It's a great trend, and I'm excited to cover some more specific examples of it. But I first need to be clear that a nation dependent on the generosity of companies to provide human rights (like free childcare for working parents, guaranteed healthcare, paid time off to take care of sick family members, and more) and a safety net for its citizens is a nation that is failing.
But until we have a robust system of benefits available to individuals regardless of their employment status and a coherent federal response strategy to things like global pandemic, we've got to laud the companies and leaders that are digging into their own pockets to provide for their employees and their communities. Whether it's offering content for free to stuck-at-home viewers, repurposing factories to produce personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers, or expanding their available benefits to cover their team's needs—or a dozen other ways to help—companies are stepping up and reaching out to help.
Here's a non-exhaustive list (stuff is changing all the time!) of some cool things companies are doing to help us all get through this stressful period:
Free access to tools & programs
- Peloton is offering a free 90-day trial of its workout app. If your gym has closed, give it a try—you don't need a Peloton-brand bike to get started, as there are also classes for yoga and strength training, among others.
- Audible has made kid- and family-friendly audiobooks available for free for all users, whether they have an Audible account or not, at Stories.Audible.com.
- Smartsheet is offering free template sets for remote working and for building a coronavirus preparedness portal.
- Technology skills platform Pluralsight is making much of its conference library free until July 1, 2020.
- Database platform MongoDB is offering free database credits for developers working on COVID-19 health projects.
- Cloud infrastructure provider DigitalOcean created its Hub for Good to connect developers working on COVID-19 relief efforts and are providing up to $1,000, and a total of $100,000, in credits to individual not-for-profit projects
- Enterprise software delivery company CloudBees is offering its Rollout software for free to non-profits and NGOs helping to fight COVID-19.
- Collaboration software suite Quip is offering its productivity tools to teams working from home for free.
- Cloud-based software company New Relic is providing free access to their platform for 90 days to any organization engaged in COVID-19 relief efforts.
- Software company Elastic is offering free and open classes for their tools and programs.
Utilizing their expertise in the fight against COVID-19
- Supply chain management company Flexport is taking care of the logistics behind getting PPE to hospitals in need, arranging and paying for transit of donated supplies.
- Biotech company CSL Behring has offered to help governments by developing a hyperimmune serum to use as part of treatment against the virus.
- Laboratory equipment company Waters is donating gear and offering live science classes for schools that have implemented homeschooling.
- Hyperlocal social networking service Nextdoor is partnering with the National Governors Association to deliver state-specific resources to communities, as well as launching new product features like the Help Map where users can make themselves available to help neighbors, like by dropping off groceries.
Taking care of employees and their communities
- Microsoft will keep paying the hourly workers who take care of their campus and pledged $2.5 million to help the COVID-19 response in Seattle.
- Google is allowing all temporary staff and vendors to take paid sick leave if they're sick or under quarantine.
- American Express is donating $2 million in grants to organizations fighting the coronavirus, including the CDC and Feeding America. They have also partnered with Hilton to donate up to one million hotel rooms across the United States to frontline medical staff!
- The S&P Global Foundation allocated $2 million to support COVID-19 response efforts, including food banks and UNICEF. The Foundation also announced a second round of grants aimed at supporting the global response to COVID-19 to widen its impact globally and support small businesses in this critical time of need, bringing total contributions to USD $4M. Additionally, S&P Global has enhanced HR/benefits support for our employees and made COVID-19 research freely available to support market participants, including complimentary Panjiva supply chain data for government agencies and hospitals to track PPE (personal protective equipment).
- Morgan Stanley is donating $10 million to organizations combating the coronavirus, including Feeding America and the World Health Organization.
- Adobe is donating $3 million to nonprofits providing assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as offering its programs for free to students, which was already mentioned.
- Dell is donating money and technology to communities in China and the US hit by the coronavirus, including matching employees' donations to the CDC's Emergency Response Fund.
- T. Rowe Price is donating $500,000 to global and local organizations working to relieve the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Advertising platform VideoAmp is donating 50,000 meals to Feeding America.
- Construction project management software company Procore is enabling employees to work from home and creating a supportive environment to do so, providing free IT resources including hardware and software, virtual entertainment offerings like yoga and mindfulness classes, and implementing flexible hours for parents and caregivers.
- Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 small businesses.
- Mortgage company Freddie Mac is waiving late fees and penalties and halting evictions until at least May 17, 2020, along with other relief options.
- Intuit is providing $8 million across donations to small businesses and nonprofits and loan payment deferrals of up to 8 weeks.
With those examples of leadership and generosity in mind, how can you help support your community today?