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The Novel Coronavirus outbreak has taken the world by storm and has forced countries to shut down their key infrastructure to prevent the spread of the virus. Last week, Microsoft instructed employees in Puget Sound and California’s Bay Area to work from home if possible. The company also said that it plans to pay regular wages to hourly employees even if their work hours are reduced.
Now, Microsoft is doubling down on its efforts and has made a pledge of $1 million to the Puget Sound’s COVID-19 Response Fund. In a blog post, Microsoft’s President Brad Smith said the money will go to “nonprofits and community-based organizations on the frontlines of the coronavirus response.”
As our community focuses on public health needs during the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s important that we also rally together to address the unmet economic needs developing around us. That’s why we’re partnering today with the two largest broad-based regional foundations to strengthen the community’s safety net through this crisis. The Seattle Foundation, United Way of King County, Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks, in coordination with King County and the City of Seattle, will launch a regional COVID-19 Response Fund (CRF) to address the emerging community needs of COVID-19. . Microsoft is making an initial $1 million anchor donation to help launch this effort immediately.
Brad Smith also shed light on the guidelines set up by Microsoft to ensure the money is used efficiently.
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. 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 will raise funds throughout the epidemic and recovery phases, to allocate resources as needs emerge and evolve.
Microsoft’s products and services can also play a vital role in supporting people and organizations through this crisis, especially for public health officials working tirelessly to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and businesses and universities that are moving to remote meetings and classes. Across the global economy, we’re working to enable people to work remotely without sacrificing collaboration, productivity and security.
Brad Smith ended the blog post by noting the importance of corporations and how they can help NGOs and the researchers eliminate the Novel Coronavirus outbreak. Microsoft will also be matching any employee contribution made to the COVID-19 Response Fund.