Some of the world’s wealthiest people have pledged billions of dollars to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus and provide relief aid to those affected by the global pandemic.
The coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, has so far infected more than 2 million people worldwide and killed over 161,000 people. Read on to learn about some of the most notable coronavirus-related donations from businessmen philanthropists around the globe.
1. Jack Dorsey
Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, has committed nearly a third of his reported net worth to combat the coronavirus and its effects. On April 7th, Dorsey announced on his Twitter account that he pledged to donate $1 billion of his equity in the company Square for global coronavirus relief efforts through a newly established charity called #startsmall.
Once the pandemic has subsided, the new charity fund will shift its focus to funding girls’ health and education and universal basic income.
Dorsey made a further commitment to transparency by allowing the public to track the charity’s flow of funds through an open Google Document.
2. Yerkin Tatishev
Yerkin Tatishev is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the international conglomerate Kusto Group whose companies operate in the agriculture, manufacturing and natural resources sectors.
The entrepreneur understands that fighting the coronavirus goes beyond the public health measures enacted to stem the spread of the deadly virus. These measures, while necessary, have also had a tremendous economic effect on domestic and international markets, individual businesses and private households.
Tatishev’s Kusto Group has pledged to donate 1 billion Kazakhstani Tenge ($2.35 million) to the #KustoHelp charity project in Kazakhstan and beyond. The initiative will provide aid to the most vulnerable groups in society during the global pandemic.
The funds will be used to provide food deliveries and assistance to large families, the poor and particularly impacted groups. Additionally, Kusto Group’s charitable donation will be used to provide medical workers with the tools necessary to fight the virus and safeguard their working environment.
3. Giorgio Armani
The Italian fashion magnate, Giorgio Armani, donated 1.25 million euros to several Italian hospitals and institutions involved in fighting the coronavirus in his native country. Italy has been one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe with over 23,000 deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.
Armani is one of over 20 Italian businessmen and women who have donated a total of over $63 million to fight the infection in Italy.
“What worries me most is the health emergency that’s taking place, both in our country and all over the world,” Armani told Forbes. “It’s too early to evaluate the long-term economic impact, which will surely be significant. But history teaches us that new opportunities are born from the deepest moments of crisis.”
4. Jack Ma
Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder, Jack Ma, has donated medical supplies and protective equipment to countries around the world including the United States and Italy.
Ma announced that through his Jack Ma Foundation a total of 1.1 million testing kits, six million masks, and 60,000 protective suits and face shields were sent to 54 African counties to help stem the spread of the virus.
The foundation is also reportedly working on online training material for coronavirus clinical treatment for medical professionals and institutions.
“Now it is as if we were all living in the same forest on fire. As members of the global community, it will be irresponsible of us to sit on the fence, panic, ignore facts, or fail to act. We need to take action now,” Ma said in a statement.
5. Bill Gates
Bill Gates announced that his charity, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, would commit $250 million towards coronavirus relief efforts worldwide.
In a statement, Gates announced that the charity would concentrate on international efforts to develop diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. Additionally, the foundation will focus on “new efforts to provide partners in Africa and South Asia with resources to scale their COVID-19 detection, treatment and isolation efforts.”
“COVID-19 doesn’t obey border laws. Even if most countries succeed in slowing the disease over the next few months, the virus could return if the pandemic remains severe enough elsewhere,” Gates said in an official statement. “The world community must understand that so long as COVID-19 is somewhere, we need to act as if it were everywhere. Beating this pandemic will require an unprecedented level of international funding and cooperation.”
6. Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has pledged $25 million to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation program researching treatments for COVID-19. The donation was made through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the charitable foundation started by Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan.
7. Mukesh Ambani
Mukesh Ambani India’s richest man, donated $66 million to coronavirus aid after he was criticized on social media for waving a bell in honor of healthcare workers from a balcony of his 27-floor mansion. A video of Ambani taking part in the nationwide moment to thank healthcare workers for their service during the coronavirus pandemic was uploaded to social media, leading to a backlash against the billionaire.
The donation, which was announced by Ambani’s nonprofit, Reliance Foundation, on Twitter will go to support Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s coronavirus emergency fund.
Before the social media uproar and subsequent donation, Ambani’s foundation had already contributed to the construction of a 100-bed hospital and a separate isolation center for people who tested positive for the virus.
8. George Soros
George Soros, the former hedge fund manager, has pledged to donate $130 million through his Open Society Foundation to combat the effects of the coronavirus.
One million dollars of the charitable donation will go to support the elderly and homeless populations through the municipal government of Soros’ native Budapest.
“I was born in Budapest, in the middle of the Great Depression, barely a decade after the Spanish Flu left thousands of dead in Budapest,” Soros said in a statement. “I lived through World War II, the Arrow Cross rule, and the siege in the city. I remember what it is like to live in extreme circumstances.”
Half of Soros’ gift will go to cities in the United States and the other half to cities around the world in their fight against the virus and to aid in recovery efforts.
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