In the last few weeks we have seen multiple natural disasters leave a path of destruction in their wake from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to the earthquake in Mexico. In the midst of all of the troubling images of communities completely displaced, we have seen the corporate sector step up and lend their support in ways only it can. We are proud of all of the Diversity Best Practices’ member companies that have mobilized to support relief efforts in Texas, Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico. Many companies like Prudential, Allstate, AT&T, Amgen, BP, Cargill, Cigna, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Lilly, General Mills, Merck, Humana and JP Morgan Chase have created donation matching programs to encourage employees to donate funds to relief efforts for the Hurricanes and the earthquake in Mexico.
In addition to the millions of dollars that have been donated to relief efforts, we have been impressed by the ways companies have leveraged their strengths to contribute products and services that go beyond cash donations. Here are some examples:
(Note: This is not an exhaustive list. Many of our member companies have donated significant resources to relief efforts that are not listed here.)
Royal Caribbean International announced they would send ships to St. Thomas and St. Maarten in a bid to not only provide supplies, but transport evacuees following Hurricane Irma. They have cancelled a cruise later in the month so that they can utilize the ship for rescue efforts in the Caribbean. They also have two ships ready to assist in Florida when needed.
UPS has pledged the use of their delivery networks to help orchestrate relief efforts.
Wells Fargo deployed mobile ATMs in Texas after Hurricane Harvey along with mobile response units to to provide in-person assistance with mortgage, home equity, auto, credit cards, student loans, personal loans, small business loans, insurance claims processing and advice to start the repair and recovery process.
Local Walmart stores in the Gulf region have provided food, merchandise and other supplies, such as baby formula, batteries and kayaks to first responders, the National Guard, police and fire departments, churches and shelter organizations. Walmart also shipped more than 1,060 truckloads to the impacted areas, including over 930 truckloads of water and supported the George R. Brown Convention Center sheltering operation in Houston through truckloads of food and water and small comforts like board games, TVs, clothing and everyday essentials. Walmart also launched a mobile pharmacy staffed with Walmart pharmacists in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, with another pharmacy being sent to Houston to provide prescription related counseling at no cost to evacuees.
Facebook has leveraged its social media platform to encourage users to donate to relief efforts. As much as $10 million had been raised via Facebook for Harvey relief at this time.
Banks including Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo have waived late fees for customers in Texas and affected areas in Florida.
AT&T is donating $150,000 to Telecoms Sans Frontieres, a group that is working to reestablish connectivity for emergency responders and communities in the Caribbean, and $250,000 to local charities in states impacted by Irma. AT&T will also match each dollar donated to Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response organization, and then matched by AT&T. through the text-to-donate program, no matter which wireless carrier you use, up to $1 million.
Verizon is supporting customers with loved ones potentially impacted by the earthquake in Mexico by offering free wireless and wireline calling from the U.S. to Mexico to help connect them with family and friends.
In coordination with the Texas Air National Guard, American Airlines operated a rescue flight into Beaumont Texas’ Jack Brooks Regional Airport. American also operated a rescue flight to help team members at Houston Intercontinental (IAH) and Houston Hobby (HOU). American dispatched a Boeing 757 from DFW to IAH to deliver more than 14,000 pounds of supplies to their team members.
International Paper produced 100,000 boxes, which were donated to the American Red Cross and Feeding America, who will use them to deliver food, water and other critical supplies to those in need.
Teams of JetBlue employees trained in advance and are now deploying with the Red Cross.
Walgreens provided a way for customers to donate in their stores. The retailer has also contributed in other ways, including providing food, medical equipment, and first aid supplies. These supplies have been sent to The American Red Cross' emergency shelter located at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.
In addition to a donation to the Red Cross, Kaiser donated funds to Mental Health America of Greater Houston, to provide mental health and emotional support for survivors, first responders and others affected by the storm.
Ahold USA and its brands – Stop & Shop, Giant Food of Landover, and Giant Food Stores of Carlisle donated needed food and supplies to the hardest hit areas in Texas to help families affected by the recent storm. In addition, select store locations of Ahold USA brands will serve as collection points for canned and packaged food.
Amgen's pledge includes $20,000 to help dialysis patients displaced by the storm.
Merck is donating needed medicines and vaccines.
Southwest plans to give five million frequent-flyer points to cover relief-related travel for the Red Cross, veterans-service organization Team Rubicon and disaster-zone staffing nonprofit All Hands Volunteers.