The Brand Move Roundup – March 30, 2020

We’re tracking the notable brand moves & highlighting the companies who are tackling this challenge successfully.

We started this series of brand updates on March 12, but the reaction has been so positive, and the crisis so fast-moving, that we’re going to move to a continuously updated rolling news format from now until it’s all over (hopefully soon). Keep checking back here for the latest updates on how brands are dealing with coronavirus.

Intuit QuickBooks, the world’s largest small business network, and GoFundMe, the world’s largest social fundraising platform, have co-founded an initiative to help small businesses raise money to overcome the challenges caused by COVID-19. The Small Business Relief Initiative is designed to get money into the hands of small businesses struggling to pay employees and business expenses due to COVID-19. As part of the initiative, GoFundMe has launched a Small Business Relief Fund into which GoFundMe and Intuit QuickBooks will be providing a direct donation. Intuit QuickBooks’ EVP and GM, Alex Chriss, said, “Small businesses need relief today to manage their cash flow. By joining forces with GoFundMe, we can connect millions of small businesses and their local communities. We’re helping to give the community a platform to quickly put cash in the hands of small businesses who need it the most.”

Teva Pharmaceuticals is donating more than six million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets to hospitals across the US Although the product is not currently approved for use in the treatment of COVID-19, it is currently under investigation for efficacy and has been requested by US government officials to be made available for use immediately,” the company announced.

Pharmaceuticals company Merck is donating masks for health care workers and other front-line responders battling the pandemic in New Jersey. The company announced this week it was donating 300,000 masks to New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. “We extend our deepest appreciation to the many healthcare providers and volunteers here and around the world who are doing so much to help affected patients and communities, and to our own employees who are focused on delivering our critically important medicines and vaccines to the patients who need them,” said Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier.

United Airlines aircraft have been repurposed to deliver vital medical supplies and goods to some of the places that need it most. They’re also using several of their idle widebody aircraft to use as dedicated charter cargo flights, at least 40 times per week, to transfer freight to and from US locations as well as to key international business locations.
“While much remains uncertain right now,” said the company, “one thing is for sure: this crisis will pass. Our nation and communities will recover and United will return to service you, our customers. When that happens, we want you to fly United with even greater pride because of the actions we took on behalf of our customers, our employees and everyone we serve.”

Free meals and discounted Uber rides are now available for over 25,000 health care workers in certain regions of the US who are helping respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is part of Uber’s latest partnership with health care union 1199SEIU, which represents over 450,000 first responders in the country. Uber says the $2-million partnership will serve health care workers in New York, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland, offering 20% off rides to and from their facilities. Meanwhile, in the UK they’re committing 200,000 free rides to and from work for NHS and HSC healthcare workers, and covering 100,000 free meals through Uber Eats, from thousands of restaurants and convenience stores. NHS and HSC staff can choose to order a hot meal from a local restaurant, or essential items from a nearby shop, all delivered to their home or even the ward.

Healthcare provider Aetna is offering free telemedicine – a $0 copay for telemedicine visits until June 4, 2020 – plus free diagnostic testing and doctor visits related to COVID-19. They are also offering Free delivery on CVS Pharmacy prescriptions and a free care package to those diagnosed with COVID-19. The package includes resources, personal care items and household supplies to help protect loved ones from potential exposure in your home.

Citizens Bank today announced a $5 million commitment to support communities and businesses dealing with impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. These resources will back both a number of broad-based community support initiatives across the Citizens service area as well as specialized programs focused on providing aid to small businesses and their workforces. “Responding to the needs of the communities we serve is at the heart of the Citizens Credo and we stand ready to help our neighbors during this unprecedented time,” said Bruce Van Saun, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Through this initiative we will focus on addressing immediate community needs, while providing aid to small businesses so they can get back on their feet more quickly.”

Energy supplier Exelon Corporation and its family of companies announced today that they will donate more than $1.15 million to national and local relief organizations to support communities impacted by the spread of the coronavirus. In addition, Exelon Generation power plants are supporting local food banks, senior centers and other aid organizations in surrounding communities. The donations will support all efforts these organizations are collectively undertaking to assist communities during this crisis, including the delivery of food assistance, financial resources and health care services, among other urgent needs.

JPMorgan Chase today announced a $50 million global philanthropic commitment to address the immediate public health and long-term economic challenges from the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Funds will support communities and people hit hardest by this public health crisis through an initial $15 million commitment, including $5 million to provide immediate healthcare, food and other humanitarian relief globally, $2 million to existing nonprofit partners around the world that are responding to the COVID-19 crisis in their communities and $8 million to assist small businesses vulnerable to significant economic hardships in the US, China and Europe. The remaining $35 million will be deployed over time to help the most vulnerable communities and people recover from the crisis and have an opportunity to benefit from future economic growth. “We are mobilizing the firm’s resources to support customers, employees and communities—especially the most vulnerable—in this time of crisis,” said Peter Scher, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic region. “We are making immediate investments to help those most affected by humanitarian challenges and looking into sustainable and innovative solutions to help small businesses and under-served communities recover when the crisis subsides.”

Transport and storage specialist U-Haul has announced that they will extend 30 days of free self-storage at U-Haul-owned and -operated facilities to help college students impacted by unforeseen schedule changes at their universities. “We don’t know how every student is affected. But we know they are affected,” said President John “JT” Taylor. “More and more universities are giving instructions to leave campus and go home. Students and their parents are in need of moving and storage solutions. We have the expertise and network to help, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.” The 30 days free self-storage offer is typically extended to communities impacted by a natural disaster. This marks the first time U-Haul has extended the offer company wide.

Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca is donating nine million face masks to support healthcare workers around the world. AstraZeneca has partnered with the World Economic Forum’s COVID Action Platform, created with the support of the World Health Organisation, to identify countries in greatest need. Italy will receive the first shipments this week with other countries to follow. In addition to these donations, AstraZeneca is accelerating the development of its diagnostic testing capabilities to scale up screening, and is also working in partnership with governments on existing screening programs to supplement testing. AstraZeneca’s Research and Development (R&D) teams have also been working to identify monoclonal antibodies to progress towards clinical trial evaluation as a treatment to prevent COVID-19. More than 50 virology, immunology, respiratory, and protein engineering experts across research, clinical, regulatory, and manufacturing are placing the highest priority on developing a treatment to minimize the global impact of the disease. Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our first thoughts are with those suffering from this global pandemic and with the brave healthcare workers who are caring for them. As a company, we have prioritized our response by partnering with international health authorities and others to share our scientific knowledge and expertise, and we have taken this step to donate these masks as we continue to accelerate our efforts on diagnostic testing and a treatment against COVID-19.”

A $500,000 donation from Providence St. Joseph Health aims to assist community health partners serving traditionally marginalized patient populations throughout the coronavirus outbreak, according to a release emailed to reporters. The donation is given as a part of the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund and is still soliciting donations from outside benefactors, aiming for a goal of $1 million in community health funding. “The health and safety of everyone, especially those who are poor and vulnerable, is an essential part of our COVID-19 response,” Rod Hochman, MD, CEO and president of Providence St. Joseph Health, said in a statement emailed to journalists. “Through this gift, we continue to work in solidarity and service with our not-for-profit partners. We want to ensure they can continue to serve those who are homeless, struggling with housing, food insecurity and other social challenges during this critical time.”

Private sector organizations have formed The COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, a collaborative industry response to the novel coronavirus. Its mission is to help save lives by providing real-time insights to aid healthcare delivery and help protect US populations. Each coalition member is bringing its unique assets, sharing resources and plans, and working together to support those on the front lines in responding to COVID-19.

Mayo Clinic, Leavitt Partners, and several Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty leaders were among the first to coalesce around this effort. These leaders asked MITRE to help coordinate the private sector response and serve as an independent party to facilitate communication, aggregate de-identified data – from clinical insights to resource requirements like beds and ventilators – and coordinate the response across a range of organizations. Coalition members include, athenahealth, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Buoy Health, CommonWell Health Alliance, Epic, HCA Healthcare, Intermountain Healthcare, LabCorp, Leavitt Partners, MassChallenge, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, MITRE, nference, Rush University System for Health, Salesforce and University of California Healthcare System. The nation’s leading experts on pandemics at the strategic, clinical, and operational level are also engaged. “The power of convening enables collaboration in ways that ensure the whole is greater than the sum of their parts,” said Dr. John Halamka, president of Mayo Clinic Platform. “In the past 24 hours I’ve seen the best of humanity coming from the coalition.”

UK supermarket chain Morrisons is to distribute £10m worth of food to the UK’s food banks during the coronavirus outbreak by producing more fresh items from its own manufacturing sites and bolstering deliveries from its stores. The UK’s largest fresh food manufacturer will this week ramp up production at its bakery, egg and fruit and vegetable packing site by an extra hour every day to make, prepare and pack essentials to help restock community food banks. David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: “As a food maker and shopkeeper we are uniquely placed to help. We know food banks are finding life very difficult and running our manufacturing sites for an extra hour each day to help restock them is the right decision at this time.”