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Together Detroit: Organizations step up during pandemic

The Children's Foundation, Comerica, PetSmart, Live Nation, Cisco and Great Lakes Wine & Spirits give back

by Staff / DetroitRedWings.com

There are many ways that organizations have found to help their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some have given goods or food but there are instances in which financial donations make the most sense.

For The Children's Foundation, it announced early on that it was taking its main mission of serving the health and wellness of children and applying that with grants of up to $10,000 for some of its local partners.

This $250,000 in COVID-19 Emergency Response Funding will help organizations with unexpected needs and costs ranging from donations of food, diapers and formula to technology to move in-person mental health visits to tele-health visits.

Among the partners that this fund has already helped include Brilliant Detroit, which is providing boxes of food, formula, diapers, toilet paper and cleaning supplies, and Starfish Family Services, which is giving food, formula and diapers to their early childhood center students and their families.

Tweet from @StarfishFam: We are incredibly grateful for Larry Burns & Children's Foundation. They have acted swiftly and generously to support critical safety net organizations. This support allows us to be there for our families even though our physical doors may be closed.#StarfishShiningMoments https://t.co/QJE0mH5BMx

"The Children's Foundation is a proactive organization that is always looking at how to help our partners in times of greatest need," Lawrence J. Burns, President and CEO of The Children's Foundation said in a statement. "We will be assisting the community with immediate items needed today and will continue to disseminate funds later on. I am very grateful for the support of the board members who acted swiftly to make this initiative possible."

Comerica Bank and its Comerica Charitable Foundation is also working to give back by investing an additional $4 million in community programming support and in businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Tweet from @ComericaBank: Comerica Bank and Comerica Charitable Foundation are investing $4 million in #COVID19 relief efforts for small businesses and community programming. Learn more here: https://t.co/SZmkOL4bQ2 #Coronavirus #ComericaCares pic.twitter.com/HMRBWXCQFI

Funds will go to Community Development Financial Institutions to support programs assisting small and micro businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Comerica and the Comerica Charitable Foundation announced an initial $4 million community investment on March 24.

"With this additional $4 million, Comerica and the Comerica Charitable Foundation have now committed $8 million to COVID-19 relief efforts. It is more important than ever that we support our communities and local businesses through the nonprofit agencies that are providing critical products and services during these difficult times," Curt Farmer, Chairman and CEO of Comerica Incorporated and Comerica Bank, said in a statement.

Other funds will go to organizations that offer services to youth, seniors and other vulnerable people, especially organizations that deal with food insecurity and access to health care.

Comerica has also stepped up to support the Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund, created by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan Women Forward.

"The stability and growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs significantly contribute to the economic vitality of our communities, as they provide important employment opportunities and deliver valuable goods and services," Mike Ritchie, Comerica Bank Michigan market president, said in a statement. "Supporting these businesses as they fight to survive will have a long-term impact on their success and on our cities and state. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan Women Forward have proven critical in providing exceptional support to businesses, and we believe partnering in the Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund will help deliver vital resources to businesses for survival and recovery."

It isn't just people who are being impacted by the current crisis, something that PetSmart certainly knows.

Many shelters have been forced to close to the public and some pet owners may have to give up their pets due to health or economic issues.

PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare, has committed up to $2 million to support pets and people affected by COVID-19. These funds will support both the animal shelters caring for pets and organizations that are helping impacted people keep and care for their pets in the areas with the highest number of reported cases in the U.S. and Canada.

Tweet from @PetSmartChariTs: COVID-19 continues to affect us & now animal shelters are also feeling the impact. In support of our communities, we are committing up to $1M to support pets & people affected. Learn more about how these funds will support the community here: https://t.co/rmEiR7XtQr pic.twitter.com/hlzkgnr3f1

"As an organization dedicated to supporting pets and the people who love them, PetSmart Charities remains committed to the health and welfare of pets during this unprecedented time, and our hearts go out to those impacted by COVID-19," Chris McCurdy, interim president at PetSmart Charities, said in a statement. "We pledge to remain nimble as the need grows during this pandemic. Whether you are a shelter overwhelmed with the intake of homeless pets or an organization that provides resources to pet parents concerned about how they will care for their pets due to quarantine, we're here for you."

Live Nation and its artists know that without the incredible efforts of the crew members working behind the scenes, there couldn't be concerts all over the world.

But with no live shows at the moment during the pandemic, those crew members are without work so Live Nation created Crew Nation, a global relief fund operated by Music Forward Foundation, to support the touring and venue crews who depends on the shows.

Live Nation has pledged $10 million to Crew Nation, an initial $5 million plus matching the next $5 million from artists, fans and employees.

Tweet from @LiveNation: Live shows are not possible without our crew members behind the scenes. We are helping those workers who need it the most by announcing the #CrewNation Fund. We are donating $10 million: $5M upfront + matching the next $5M. Visit https://t.co/CvaQvd3shg to donate or buy merch now pic.twitter.com/Y3dQjcf40u

There is also Crew Nation merchandise with 100 percent of the profits going to the fund.

Tweet from @Aerosmith: #Aerosmith and Bravado are coming together to help support Live Nation���s Global Relief fund for live music crews by donating 100% of net proceeds on our limited edition Crew Nation t-shirt. Continue to stay safe and look after each other.Get yours here: https://t.co/YUdkoWJMWs pic.twitter.com/R3GRCI27fk

Artists like Aerosmith, Backstreet Boys, KISS, Twenty One Pilots, among others, have created songs or special merchandise to benefit Crew Nation as well.

From the tech world, Cisco has committed $225 million toward global COVID-19 response efforts.

Tweet from @Cisco: We are deeply committed to supporting communities around the world during this time. Cisco Chairman and CEO @ChuckRobbins explains how. @DSTNHome @WHO @CiscoCSR https://t.co/Uv8h3lFruh pic.twitter.com/ulgRK4xJJV

That includes $8 million in cash and $210 in product donations, particularly geared toward health care, education, government response and critical technology.

Cisco's Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program will offer funding to heads of state, government agencies and businesses to assist in quickly implementing COVID-19-related technology solutions.

In addition, Cisco is offering those on the front lines access to critical technologies through free Webex and Security offers.

"Many people in our communities were already struggling before this tragic pandemic," Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins wrote on the Cisco blog. "People who were already vulnerable are facing even more risks to their health, stability, housing, and well-being. Nonprofits are struggling to serve their populations as the number of volunteers declines due to social distancing practices and donations are at-risk due to financial concerns."

The Cisco Foundation also started a campaign to $5 million in grants and matching funds to encourage its 77,000 employees in supporting front-line organizations who are fighting the pandemic.

Great Lakes Wine & Spirits, Michigan's largest wine and liquor distributor, is giving back to the many restaurant and bar employees who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the very first week of the Governor's "stay home, stay safe" response, GLWAS was committed to supporting the local restaurant community and its employees. To date GLWAS have purchased over $450,000 in gift cards from Michigan restaurants and grocery stores for its employees who are making sure that shelves are stocked for the rest of the state.

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Foundation created the Michigan Hospitality Industry Employee Relief Fund on April 6, pledging to match the first $100,000 in contributions, to help provide $500 grants to displaced workers. Great Lakes Wine & Spirits was proud to donate $25,0000 as a founding donor.

Tweet from @WineGeek2: Great Lakes Wine & Spirits is proud to be a founding donor of the Michigan Hospitality Industry Employee Relief Fund. #HelpforHospitalityWorkers #Michigan #MRLAEF @GreatLakesWine https://t.co/Z5JISMr0f7

But Great Lakes Wine & Spirits' efforts did not end there.

They purchased $30,000 worth of T-Shirts for its 1,000 employees to sponsor a Support Your Bartender Day on April 17, 2020, with 100% of the net proceeds being donated to the United States Bartenders' Guild Foundation's Bartender Emergency Assistance Program for COVID-19. The T-Shirts were part of a joint venture between New Amsterdam Vodka (official Vodka of the NHL), Barstool Sports, and Pink Whitney.

Great Lakes Wine & Spirits has also delivered thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer made by Michigan companies like Coppercraft Distillery to many places throughout the state, including churches, area hospitals and the City of Detroit Fire Department. They were also able to fulfill an emergency donation to Detroit Receiving Hospital within hours of getting a call from Olympia Entertainment.

GLWAS' quick response and all their other efforts is why we are proud to partner with companies like all of these mentioned in today's feature as they all take community support very seriously.

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