Mr. Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Well, some businesses took the initiative to be those helpers, and they’re using their products, their infrastructure, and their money to provide some great Covid-19 resources.
If you as an individual are struggling to find resources as you navigate this unprecedented pandemic, use this list to find out where you can get support, a meal, a new job opportunity, or a myriad of other initiatives that might mitigate your struggles.
Working for a company that is still on solid ground? This list can also serve as inspiration for ways that your business can join forces with the helpers too.
Kudos to these awesome initiatives:
Table of Contents
Producing life-saving materials
1. Shine Distillery in Portland began producing and giving away hand sanitizer.
2. LVMH (the parent company of Christian Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy) is using the production facilities of their cosmetics and perfumes to manufacture hand sanitizer and provide it to French healthcare workers for free.
3. Tito’s Vodka announced that it would also begin producing mass quantities of hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of COVID-19, in addition to several charitable donations.
While we advise that you cannot use our vodka as a hand sanitizer, our distillery has been working hard to get all of the pieces in place to begin production on 24 tons of hand sanitizer that adheres to industry and governmental guidance. Please see attached for more information. pic.twitter.com/c5pTzVOvv1— TitosVodka (@TitosVodka) March 22, 2020
4. Jo Ann Fabrics is giving away pre-cut materials needed to sew together PPE masks.
5. HP is in the process of creating 3D printer designs for medical face shields, hands-free door openers, and adjusters for face masks. They are also testing “hospital-grade” face masks that meet FFP3 (filtering face piece) standard and parts for emergency ventilators. HP also is offering free downloads of its 3D-printed medical equipment designs.
6. Century Farms Distillery and West O Beer are collaborating to produce hand sanitizer and give it to members of their community for free.
7. Carbon, another 3D printer company, said it plans to send face shield designs to its network of customers who’ve bought its 3D printers. Carbon is also currently in the process of creating a design for the mass production of COVID-19 testing swabs.
8. Kering, parent company to Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, has announced that the 2 luxury fashion brands will start making face masks to ease shortages.
Making remote work a little easier
9. Google has rolled out free access to advanced features for Hangouts Meet for all G Suite customers, meaning that they can include up to 250 participants, live stream to 100,000 viewers and record meetings.
10. Microsoft is offering to everyone a free trial of its Teams product, another video conferencing platform that normally requires a paid subscription. The trial has no end date as of right now.
11. Jamm, an audio-visual communication tool used by remote teams is offering their product free of charge for four months.
12. Meero is increasing the storage capacity and validity duration of files shared via MeeroDrop, with up to 10 Gigabytes and 3 months of validity, features typically only available in the advanced version.
13. Cisco Webex added additional features to its free Webex service and is also offering free 90-day business licenses to companies that have been affected by the pandemic. Free accounts can also now host meetings with up to 100 participants for an unlimited amount of time.
14. AppSumo has rounded up a ton of other SaaS companies that are offering deals for businesses.
15. Atlassian announced that Jira issue-and-project-tracking software and Confluence team-collaboration platform will now be free for teams of up to ten people indefinitely.
16. Calendly is removing their charge for integrating with video conferencing platforms, and teams that are working on COVID-19 related projects will be granted access to its premium service at no cost.
17. LogMeIn is offering three-month site-wide licenses for free to healthcare providers, educational institutions and municipalities. Existing customers can tap these bundles and get site-wide licenses for additional tools for three months at no extra cost.
Making remote learning a little easier
18. Scholastic is offering a free digital learning hub designed to support virtual learning plans. Its offerings go from pre-K to 9th grade, covering topics from general academic subjects to emotional intelligence skills.
19. Loom, a video recording and sharing service, has made Loom Pro free for teachers and students at K-12 schools, universities, and other educational institutions, and additionally cut the price for Loom Pro in half.
20. The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy’s team of literacy and education experts created a toolkit of online resources to assist parents with navigating the vast amount of available options.
21. Adobe is giving higher education and K-12 institutional customers the ability to request “at-home” access to Creative Cloud for their students and educators through May 31.
22. Sesame Workshop has announced that over 110 free Sesame Street eBooks are now available on all major platforms, including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble Nook, Google Play, and Kobo.
23. Atlassian is offering K-12 schools and higher education institutions free one-year subscriptions to its Trello Business Class service, which instructors can leverage to schedule coursework.
Supporting affected employees
24. Microsoft announced that they will continue paying the hourly employees who support operations of their campus.
25. Google established a COVID-19 fund that enables all temporary contract staff and vendors to take paid sick leave if they have any potential symptoms of COVID-19 or are unable to work because they’re quarantined.
26. Amazon is beginning a hiring surge of 100,000 more workers and raising the pay of current staff to deal with coronavirus demands.
27. Starbucks has extended its mental health benefits. In partnership with Lyra Health, Starbucks is offering 20 free in-person or video sessions every year for employees and each of their eligible family members and access to a provider network of mental health therapists.
28. Amazon will offer unlimited paid sick leave over the next month, however this only applies to those who test positive for COVID-19.
29. Apple is offering its retail staff unlimited paid sick leave to anyone experiencing symptoms.
31. Walmart has deployed an Emergency Leave program, which provides time-off for employees if they are in an area that has been quarantined.
32. Uber will provide 14 days of sick pay for drivers or delivery workers (independent contractors who have typically not qualified for paid leave or benefits in the past) if they are sick or required to be isolated.
33. Amazon has created a $25M fund to support delivery drivers and seasonal workers dampen the impact of coronavirus, as well as a $5M dollar fund to help small businesses in their HQ city of Seattle.
34. Delta’s CEO is forgoing his salary for 6 months in an attempt to prevent layoffs.
35. Disney will pay 31,000 employees while their theme parks remain shuttered.
36. VF Corp is closing all of their stores, but continuing to pay the employees who would have been scheduled to work at these locations.
37. United’s CEO and President will forgo their base salaries until June.
38. Workday is giving employees a one time payment at the equivalent of 2 weeks of pay to help them with coronavirus effects, as well as extending their Care.com benefit to 15 days.
39. Care.com is also offering free premium membership to healthcare workers and people needing senior care.
40. Apple has closed all of its stores outside of Greater China, but all employees will be paid during the closure.
42. REI is temporarily closing their stores, and all of their employees will be paid during the closure.
43. &Pizza is offering unlimited free pizzas to employees and their immediate families, as well as to hospital workers who show ID. The company is also offering 14 days of “health and safety pay” to employees who have tested positive or who have come in contact with someone with COVID-19.
Producing helpful content for navigating the situation
44. Forbes8 hosted a free digital summit on March 20, 2020 under the theme of Business Resilience: Thriving in Crucial Times. The speaker roster included top experts and best-selling authors, many of which were scheduled to speak at SXSW before it was cancelled.
46. Forrester has produced a playbook meant to guide businesses in their marketing and communications efforts, walking them through ways to stay in touch with customers, keep their business afloat, and not cross any inappropriate lines.
47. SHRM released an extensive guide for caring for your talent and tweaking employee benefits to best adapt to the current crisis.
48. Businesses are producing guides to working from home, like this two week reflection on the most effective tactics from Microsoft, this guide for both employees and managers from Traject, or this article that focuses on an individual’s mental health from The Center for Workplace Mental Health.
Offering free courses and career resources
49. LinkedIn is offering up 16 learning courses for free. The courses provide tips on how to stay productive, build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools and balance family and work dynamics in a healthy way.
50. Blue Array Academy is offering free access to their SEO Manager Certification training programme to those in Digital Marketing who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19.
51. CXL Institute is offering free Minidegree programs to people whose livelihoods are affected by COVID-19.
52. Moz is offering their Moz Academy courses on SEO skills for free through May 31.
Supporting first responders and healthcare workers
53. Sweetgreen is dedicating Outpost operations and personnel to support “those on the front lines” by delivering free salads and bowls to hospitals.
54. &Pizza’s CEO Michael Lastoria announced that they are offering free, unlimited pizzas to hospital workers who show identification.
55. Bitdefender is granting free access to their enterprise grade security offering to healthcare organizations for a period of 12 months.
56. BlueJeans is available for free to first responders and NGOs involved in managing the outbreak, and will get 90 days with possibility for extension.
57. Dropbox Business and HelloSign Enterprise, which manages electronic agreements, will be free for six months for nonprofits and NGOs involved in the battle against COVID-19.
58. Slack is offering free upgrades to paid plans for any organizations that are working on coronavirus research or response, as well as to local media organizations and scientific publications covering these subjects.
Supporting local businesses
59. OneDine is waiving all setup and transaction costs to implement the Tap & Pay Touchless Payment system to restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis, which will hopefully improve efficiency as well mitigate the spread of germs associated with standard touchscreens.
60. UberEats is waiving the fee restaurants normally pay to receive an order through the platform
61. Similarly, DoorDash has waived commission fees for its independent restaurant partners
62. The program that Postmates has launched in a similar fashion for small businesses temporarily waives commission fees for those restaurants in the SF Bay Area. They’ve also created a fund that will credit Postmates for the costs of doctors.
63. Companies like Gannett are promoting the purchase of gifts cards to use at local businesses at a later date. The company created a platform that hosts a range of options for local businesses to buy a gift card from.
64. Online Reputation and Review company Grade.us is crowdsourcing 5 star reviews to assist local businesses through their #5starchallenge, as well as hosting an open chat with industry experts on how to manage Local Search strategy.
"The Challenge: Post a review for a biz you love, share a pic, & tag 3 people to challenge them to do the same. Small businesses are struggling—but reviews can help them bounce back when we can visit again. We challenge @garrettsussman @mblumenthal & @randfish #5starchallenge" pic.twitter.com/QdvQrbaTzj— Grade.us by Traject (@GradeUs) March 19, 2020
65. Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate.
66. Mark Cuban announced that any of his employees (including those who work for the Mavericks) will be reimbursed for any lunch and coffee purchases from local, independent small businesses.
67. Everytable, a Los Angeles-based restaurant, launched a helpline to ensure that everyone in the area (especially more at-risk members of the community) has access to healthy meals during this time.
Donating money to research and care
68. Dolce & Gabbana is partnering with Humanitas University to fund coronavirus research.
69. Giorgio Armani has donated $1.25 million euros to a group of Italian hospitals and institutions involved in fighting the coronavirus spread in the country.
70. French luxury fashion group Kering has donated 2 million euros to help the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
71. Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, Alaska, and more have pledged $2.5 million to help out those afflicted by the disease in their home city of Seattle.
72. Salesforce announced that they’re donating $1 million to the UCSF coronavirus response fund and another $500,000 to the CDD emergency response fund.
73. TikTok committed itself to donate $10 million to the World Health Organization Solidarity Response Fund.
Offering flexibility for affected customers
74. Comcast, T-Mobile, Charter, Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, and Sprint have signed a pledge to keep Americans internet-connected for the next 60 days, regardless of customers’ ability to pay.
75. Hilton is waiving cancellation fees to reservations at their hotels, even those described as non-cancellable, up to 24 hours before.
76. Many airlines are also offering increased flexibility, and information on the extent to which you can expect these changes have been collected in this master list.
Offering products for free
77. Any coronavirus impacted small business can apply to receive a free lifetime plan from Intellifluence, an influencer marketing management platform.
78. SpyFu is offering their competitor SEO/SEM tracking tool for free to anyone who needs it, “as long as you really need it.” Customers can discuss their options with the SpyFu team after reading this message.
79. U-Haul has announced 30 days of free self-storage to all college students who have been impacted by schedule changes at their universities.
80. MailChimp is offering free accounts for its more feature-rich service to local governments, schools, healthcare providers, nonprofits and other organizations that need to communicate critical health information about the disease.
Keeping people fed
81. Ideal Bite Community Kitchen donated food to organizations like Cass Community Social Services (CCSS), a nonprofit organization working with at-risk communities in Detroit.
82. Second Servings of Houston collected a record-breaking 13,000 pounds of fresh food and redistributed it to more than 90 local charity sites across the city after restaurants and bars in Houston were ordered to close for dine-in service.
83. Volunteers at New York’s City Harvest gathered nearly 40,000 pounds of unused fresh produce, prepared foods, meat, dairy, and nonperishable items from 50 restaurants across the city to redistribute to community members who need assistance.
84. Chef José Andrés announced he will transform eight of his New York and Washington, DC, restaurants into community kitchens for those struggling during the pandemic.
In good times & bad, a hot plate of food is vital nourishment for body & soul. Let’s put the restaurant industry’s 15mil workers at the service of 🇺🇸 to feed elderly, vulnerable families and first responders. With the urgency of now, we’ll make food the solution, not the problem. https://t.co/dGaLwUMjoP— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) March 22, 2020
Keeping people entertained
85. Universal is now offering its newest movies that were originally intended for a theater release (including The Hunt and The Invisible Man) to be available to stream on demand.
87. Sling is offering shows and movies for free, with no sign-up required
88. In a Facebook post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to grant unlimited ad credits to the World Health Organization to promote accurate information about COVID-19. Furthermore, they’ll remove “false claims and conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations,” and will block users from posting ads that “try to exploit the situation.”
89. Pinterest is tightly controlling search results for “COVID-19,” “coronavirus” and related terms to “internationally recognized health organizations.” They take it one step further by adding a “Today” tab with curated content from credible sources and tips for living through these uncertain times.
90. Google built their own information site to consolidate factual information, tips, resources, and opportunities for philanthropy.
If none of these resources remediate your particular situation or you don’t quite meet the criteria, several government assistance programs exist as well.
Benefits.gov has taken the time and guesswork out of it and consolidated a variety of options meant to be COVID-19-specific that range from unemployment resources, to healthcare resources, to business resources, and more.
If that doesn’t do the trick, use the Benefit Finder to answer a few questions and more specifically hone in on the type of assistance you need and are qualified for.
If you have a small business, make sure to also look into resources and guidance provided by the Small Business Association.
Maybe you’ve already been hearing about all these federal resources at a high level. But if you’re having some difficulty cutting through the jargon to determine what it really means and if you qualify, use a resource like this explanation to make it all make sense.
However, decisions on benefits and various types of support often happen at the state or local level. Find your state below to access resources for small businesses in general or COVID-19 specific guidance, if they’ve created it.
Final thoughts on support initiatives during Coronavirus
If you’re a person or business who has been adversely impacted by the spread of COVID-19, use this list to find resources that are available to you and share this list with your affected peers.
If you’re fortunate enough to not need these resources right now, that’s great – you’re in a position to help. Use this list to get inspiration for initiatives that your own company can enact.
Pro tip: Stick with what you know for the best impact.
Tito’s already has a distillery and supplies for making alcohol, so it makes sense for them to adapt this to hand sanitizer production. SHRM is a leader in the HR and Talent space, so people are looking to them for guidance on the best way to incorporate virus-response into their company culture.
Take some time to brainstorm a way you can adapt your current products or infrastructure to meet a need that people are struggling to meet right now as a result of the pandemic.
A rising tide lifts all ships—let’s use this difficult time as motivation to get creative and help our neighbors in ways that your company is uniquely positioned to do. Let us know what you come up with so that we’re able to amend this post to include the great work your business is doing.