Washington-based companies are opening their wallets to contribute large sums to a new fund aimed at supporting those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Microsoft on Monday announced a $1 million gift to the COVID-19 Response Fund to help nonprofits and community organizations.
“Given that the outbreak will impact many communities that are already facing health and economic disparities, the fund will provide financial support to nonprofits and community-based organizations on the frontlines of the response,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post. “This support will include rental assistance to keep people housed; help ensure children, seniors and families have access to food; and support healthcare workers on the front line.”
In addition to Microsoft, Amazon and other Seattle-area companies have partnered with the nonprofits and government agencies to launch the relief fund.
The COVID-19 Response Fund launches with more than $2.5 million in donations from founding partners and provides grants to organizations helping at-risk workers who can’t take sick leave, as well as people without health insurance, and healthcare.
Alaska Airlines, Starbucks, United Way of King County, King County, and the City of Seattle also are partners. Seattle Foundation will act as the host to administer one-time grants to support the work of public health organizations and nonprofits.
“Criteria for the initial emergency response stage are being developed to ensure the dollars are allocated in a targeted, agile and responsive manner where the dollars are needed most,” Smith wrote. “Initial grants will support organizations doing work with priority populations, such as: people without sick leave or health insurance; medically fragile populations; hourly and gig economy workers; healthcare workers and people with limited English-language proficiency.”
The group plans to raise funds throughout the epidemic and recovery phases, allocating resources as needed.