Coronavirus: from Google 800 million dollars to SMEs, WHO and NGOs

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Not only technical advice on how to manage the site in this emergency phase, but concrete actions to support small and medium-sized enterprises and, more generally, to help those facing the Covid-19 pandemic. Sundar pichai, CEO of Google, announced that the American company has allocated over $800 million dollars to donate to charity to “overcome together the challenges that await us”.

Google’s move

The official blog post immediately gets to the heart of the initiative: the coronavirus epidemic is getting worse all over the world and “the consequences on human lives and our communities become more and more serious“, writes Pichai. And so, “to help at least partially address this situation”, Google has decided to intervene with another contribution “of over 800 million dollars to support small and medium-sized enterprises, health organizations and governments” around the world.

Google’s plan in detail

This investment is multi-layered: 250 million dollars (in advertising credits) will help the World Health Organization and over 100 global government agencies to provide relevant information on how to prevent the spread. Over 340 million in credits for Google Ads are made available to all SMEs with active accounts in the last year, and a further 200 million dollars were injected into an investment fund to support NGOs and financial institutions around the world in simplifying access to credit for small and medium-sized enterprises.

340 million dollars in Google ADS credits for SMEs

The main share of this investment involves 340 million dollars in Google Ads credits for all SMEs: to what is understood, you will not have to make any specific request and the only requirement so far is to have an account active in the last year.

Credits will be displayed directly in Google Ads accounts identified as beneficiaries and “can be used at any time until the end of 2020 on all our advertising platforms“, says Google’s CEO, which hopes in this way to contribute “to alleviate part of the costs that these small businesses incur to stay in touch with their customers”.

Credits are not immediately available, but the team is working to speed up operations; according to initial estimates, it will take a few months to receive notifications of credit.

250 millions to WHO and governative agencies

The donation to the World Health Organization (WHO) and more than other 100 government agencies worldwide is also very substantial: 250 million dollars in advertising credits “to provide relevant information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other measures to help local communities”.

Already in the first weeks of the epidemic Google announced an investment of 25 millions to this front, but as the emergency progressed it decided to increase the amount by tenfold.

20 millions to financial institutions

On top of this amount there are an additional 20 million dollars in advertising credits, which will benefit “financial institutions dedicated to community development” and will serve for “public service announcements on support funds and other resources for SMEs”.

A fund for NGOs

A specific measure of this plan is dedicated to non-profit organizations and financial institutions all around the world to “help small businesses to access credit“: Google has activated a 200 million dollars investment fund that is added” to the 15 million dollars in cash grants that is already providing to non-profit organizations to help fill in gaps in SMEs funding”.

Funds also for academic insitutions and researchers

A particular attention also to academic institutions and researchers, to which the Californian company makes available “20 million dollars in Google Cloud credits intended to use our computational resources and infrastructure in the study of potential therapies and vaccines, track critical data and identify new ways to counteract COVID-19″. To apply for credits, please refer to the Google for Education website.

Increased the donation contribution of employees

Finally, Sundar Pichai announced that Google has brought up to 10,000 dollars the additional contribution that “offers to double the donations of each employee“, first set at $7,500. This means that “every employee can donate up to $20,000 to non-profit organizations in their community, in addition to the 50 million dollars already donated by”.

A support to the entire community

Google’s intervention was intended to “support our communities, which include millions of companies, teachers, researchers and non-profit organizations” and to make a contribution “to overcome together the challenges that await us”, writes in closing the CEO Sundar Pichai. And the Mountain View company was not the only one to take this direction: also other giants of the tech and Web fields decided in fact to “make their own part” with investments and donations.

The donations of big tech companies

Just recently, Amazon announced that it has allocated 3.5 million euros to support both Civil Protection in one of the most impacted countries such as Italy and non-profit organizations. In addition, Jeff Bezos’ company modified its purchasing and distribution system (prioritizing essential goods) and activated a button to allow users to contribute with a voluntary donation.

Apple also thinks of Italy: CEO Tim Cook has in fact promised a “significant” donation to the National Civil Protection “to ensure that first responders, volunteers and health workers have the resources to protect their health, while contributing to Italy’s response to Covid-19”.

Is of 100 thousand euros the contribution (at the moment) received from Microsoft Italy: a share of 70 thousand euros has been donated to the Francesca Rava Foundation in order to speed up the operations of preparation of the new Department of Intensive Care of the Polyclinic of Milan, the most impacted city of all, while the other 30 thousand euros (from voluntary donations of Microsoft employees) were donated to the Italian Red Cross.

Facebook has launched a Solidarity Response Fund for Covid-19 together with the United Nations and WHO, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that “Facebook will donate the same amount that will be raised up to 10 million dollars“. The initiative will directly support work to prevent, detect and respond to the epidemic worldwide. In addition, a further $10 million donation will be allocated to the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control that promote fundraising to combat the epidemic in the US.

It is time of extraordinary actions

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, wrote Rand fishkin a few days ago analyzing the current situation worldwide and proposing some practical interventions to big techs. And it seems that Google understood the message, whereas the fifth point exactly suggested to “make advertising credits available to the most affected sectors”.

According to Fishkin, “Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft have extraordinary access to data from companies and sectors most affected by Covid-19”, which could be used “to identify strong targets to offer advertising credits to“. At a time where “demand is falling dramatically and companies are looking to save money”, the main “advertising networks (research, visualization, re-targeting, e-commerce and local) can help support such demand by giving advertising credit”, trying to “support the fundamental web trade while wait for the real world to return to its normality”.

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