Billion-dollar US companies fight coronavirus: How they're helping

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Businesses across the U.S. have closed; millions of people have filed for unemployment and hospitals are overwhelmed and undersupplied.

But as the U.S. grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's most successful companies have stepped up to the plate with offers of cash, supplies and other forms of relief.

Rabbi Yosef Chesed, left, helps unload bottled water being donated from Lorie Lutz, right, at the Brightmoor Connection Food Pantry in Detroit on March 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Here's what some of the most successful companies in the U.S. are contributing:


Amazon has played a significant role in helping people weather the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers turn to the digital retail giant for household essentials like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. The company has struggled to keep up with demand and has seen supply shortages and lagging delivery dates as people avoid going to the grocery store.


Amazon founder Jeff Bezos raised minimum pay for workers and opened up 100,000 new positions with the company to help meet demand. He also reached out to the White House to offer the company's assistance.

An Amazon Prime truck passes by the sign outside an Amazon fulfillment center, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Staten Island, New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

But many have criticized Bezos, the richest man in the world with a net worth of nearly $114 billion, for asking the American public to donate money to Amazon's $25 million relief fund for its employees.

He was also condemned for telling his employees that they would have to wait for face masks due to short supply.


Microsoft has taken a number of different measures to help with COVID-19 response efforts, especially for those working from home and using Microsoft tools.

In a blog post titled, "Responding to COVID-19 together," the technology company lists the many different ways in which it is offering solutions to those impacted by the virus, including a "health care bot," a COVID-19 tracker, income support for hourly workers, cybersecurity tools for IT professionals working from home, a COVID-19 response website and more.

In this Jan. 28, 2020, file photo a Microsoft computer is among items displayed at a Microsoft store in suburban Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Microsoft also joined the White House in its launch of "the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium," which aims to "provide COVID-19 researchers worldwide with access to the world’s most powerful High Performance Computing (HPC) resources that can significantly advance the pace of scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus."


The company also donated $1 million to a regional COVID-19 Response Fund (CRF) in Seattle.


Oracle founder Larry Ellison has offered the White House Oracle's services in helping to collect COVID-19 data, the Washington Post reported last week.

The software company, which offers cloud engineering services, said it would create and donate a website and corresponding app that would compile data on COVID-19 patients and the effects of antimalarial drugs like hydroxychloroquine.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison (Getty Images)

Oracle also partnered with IBM, the World Health Organization and blockchain company HACERA  to create an open platform to support COVID-19 data collection. Called MiPasa, it uses blockchain technology, according to a statement.


Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has offered extensive support to the global fight against COVID-19.

The social media website and its partner platforms, WhatsApp and Instagram, have played a vital role in helping to keep people connected and spread information about the virus.

And Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced on Friday that they are putting $25 million from their tech and science research company, the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, toward the Gates Foundation's COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator project.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, left, speaks with his wife, Priscilla Chan. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Additionally, Facebook rolled out a $100 million grant program and other initiatives on March 17 and 18 to help fight the pandemic. The money will go toward 30,000 eligible small businesses around the globe in the form of cash and ad credits.


Zuckerberg said in a March 18 conference call with reporters that the social media leader's No. 1 priority is to stop the spread of misinformation on its services.


Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Friday that the tech giant is contributing more than $800 million to help with the worldwide response to the coronavirus pandemic, including free advertising credits for small businesses.

That $800 million comes on top of $25 million the company announced last month and $20 million in ad grants for nongovernment organizations and community financial institutions to run public service announcements.


Dell founder Michael Dell has used his large platform on social media to spread information about COVID-19 and encourage others to take the pandemic seriously, even saying spring breakers ignoring the outbreak need not apply to a job at the computer company.

"Like you, we are stressing the importance of health and safety with our team, their families and the communities where we live. We must protect each other and especially our most vulnerable – our elderly and those with underlying conditions," Dell wrote in a March 13 letter to customers and partners.

The company is donating millions of dollars toward COVID-19 relief, including an initial donation of $284,000 toward medical supplies in China, $3 million in technology donations to Americans on the frontlines, dollar-for-dollar donation matches of "up to $10,000 per employee per year" and more, according to a March 13 blog post.


Walmart has offered a number of donations and relief programs to help fight the pandemic.

The company has donated $25 million on March 17, which "will be distributed in a series of grants, each furthering the capacity of organizations to help communities affected by the pandemic," according to a blog post.

An employee sorts clothes displayed for sale at a Walmart de Mexico SAB store during Buen Fin in Mexico City, Mexico, on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (Alejandro Cegarra/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

It also donated $10 million to "nine organizations that support food banks, schools and senior meal programs. The organizations, though different, share an overarching goal: providing access to food for underserved populations – a mission taking on even greater urgency in response to the novel coronavirus."


Nike, the Nike Foundation and Nike executives have donated a total of $15 million toward COVID-19 relief, $10 million of which came personally from Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny; Nike Chairman of the Board Mark Parker and his wife, Kathy; and Nike President and CEO John Donahoe and his wife, Eileen, according to a March 18 press release.


The company is also giving a "$1 million donation to the global COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, created by the United Nations Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, to fund efforts by the World Health Organization and partners to support countries preparing for and responding to the COVID-19 crisis," the release reads.

Tony Lee from Taipei, Taiwan, shops for shoes at Nike Inc.’s Niketown store in downtown San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, June 16, 2011. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Nike Foundation is donating "$1 million to the Oregon Community Recovery Fund; $1.1 million to support community partners across Europe, Middle East and Africa through the King Baudouin Foundation; $250,000 to the Mid-South Food Bank in Memphis, Tenn.; $250,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis’ COVID-19 Regional Response Fund; and $500,000 to the Boston Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund."


These donations came in addition to the $1.4 million Nike donated to the China Youth Development Foundation in January.


Tesla founder Elon Musk on Wednesday pledged to dedicate Tesla's Buffalo, New York, Gigafactory to ventilator production.

The pledge came as U.S. hospitals face a ventilator shortage because of the coronavirus pandemic, which causes respiratory problems, including pneumonia.

Elon Musk and his mother, Maye Musk, at the Oscars Vanity Fair Party Feb. 26, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

"Biggest value Tesla is providing is precise delivery of ventilators exactly to the ICU where [and]  when they’re needed," Musk tweeted Wednesday in response to a tweet from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio thanking him for his contributions. "There are many ventilators in warehouses, but stuck in logistics/routing/paperwork issues."

The company will help produce and donate hundreds of ventilators to New York hospitals.


This article includes material from previous FOX Business posts.

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