UPDATED, with comments from Tony Vinciquerra: Sony Corp said today that it has launched a $100M fund to support those affected by the coronavirus. Titled the Sony Global Relief Fund for COVID-19, the electronics and entertainment giant’s pledge will provide assistance in three areas: individuals engaged in frontline medical and first responder efforts to fight the virus; support for children and educators who must now work remotely; and support for members of the creative community in the entertainment industry.
With the new fund, Sony joins other entertainment and media companies such as Netflix which has pledged $100M to help workers hardest-hit by the outbreak in the television and film industry. WarnerMedia is committing more than $100M for crews of productions shuttered by the pandemic, and Facebook has also said it will give $100M to small businesses in more than 30 countries in an effort to boost the global economy, and is working with the World Health Organization to remove fake news about the virus from its platforms.
Sony said that across the creative community such as music, pictures, games and animation, together with its group companies, it will seek ways to support up-and-coming creators, artists and all those in professions supporting the industry who have been impacted by the cancellation or postponement of concerts and live events, or the shutting down of film and TV productions. Sony also said that its roughly 110K employees worldwide will be able to provide their support through a matching gift program.
In a note to Sony Pictures Entertainment employees this morning, SPE Chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra wrote, “Our Corporate Social Responsibility team is working closely with Sony Corp to determine the best path forward for distributing funds in the entertainment space. As you have all seen, the need for support during this crisis is unprecedented, and we are exploring several options, looking for ideas — with existing relief organizations, SPE partners, and our own executives internally — to determine what will have the most meaningful impact. We will update everyone as soon as possible on our distribution plans and how employees can participate in the matching gift program.”
In terms of medical support, $10M has been earmarked for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund at the World Health Organization which is powered by the UN Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, as well as Médecins Sans Frontières, UNICEF and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assist medical workers and others on the frontline of response efforts. The Tokyo-based conglomerate will also work with its external partners to explore ways that it can support activities that prevent the further spread and contribute to treatment of COVID-19.
In the area of education, where children are losing education opportunities as a result of school closures, Sony will explore ways to leverage its technologies in support of education activities, and cooperate with educators to implement these measures.
Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony Corp President and CEO, said, “Sony extends its condolences to the families of those who have passed away as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and extends its sympathies to all those who have been impacted. In order to overcome the unprecedented challenges that as a society we now face around the world, we will do all we can as a global company to support the individuals on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, the children who are our future, and those who have been impacted in the creative community.”
Going forward, Sony added it will work together with its partners and stakeholders to explore ways to further extend the initiatives.
Here is the full note from Vinciquerra to SPE staff this morning:
I wanted to share some positive and important news from Sony Corp about the establishment of a $100 million Global Relief Fund to provide support for many of those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. I’ve included the press release Sony issued earlier today below.
As you can see, the fund will provide assistance in three main areas: medical professionals and first responders who are on the front lines; education efforts for children who are now attempting to learn at home; and support for those in the entertainment industry, which, like many other industries, has been greatly impacted by the closure of theaters and film and television productions being shut down around the world.
In addition, Sony has also announced a matching gift program that will be offered to all Sony employees. This is great news as I have heard from many of you over the last couple weeks looking for the best way to contribute.
Our Corporate Social Responsibility team is working closely with Sony Corp to determine the best path forward for distributing funds in the entertainment space. As you have all seen, the need for support during this crisis is unprecedented, and we are exploring several options, looking for ideas – with existing relief organizations, SPE partners, and our own executives internally – to determine what will have the most meaningful impact. We will update everyone as soon as possible on our distribution plans and how employees can participate in the matching gift program.
I want to thank Yoshida-san and the leadership at Sony for establishing this important fund that will provide broad support across so many communities in need.
I again want to thank you all at SPE for moving our businesses forward in the face of these incredible challenges.
Please stay safe.