It is hard to imagine that there is anyone who has been completely untouched by the Coronavirus pandemic, but there is no denying that there are communities and regions that have been hit so much harder than others.
During times such as these, we see the incredible disparity between first world nations and developing countries, between the elite and the less fortunate. And as governments around the world struggle to keep up with the overwhelming challenges, it has been a time when philanthropy has been absolutely vital.
Philanthropy has provided a beacon of hope in what has been an incredibly difficult time, and we’ll illustrate how much of a difference it has made, as well as highlighting important charitable efforts that have kept going in spite of these incredibly difficult circumstances.
The race to find a vaccine for COVID-19 has been on since it was first encountered, and we spent months waiting with bated breath for some good news. As nations discussed which they would back and placed their orders, philanthropists selflessly stepped in to help bring the day when vaccines would be widely available closer.
For example, back in November it was announced that the legendary Dolly Parton had donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University medical centre to fund the Moderna vaccine. Meanwhile, Bill and Melinda Gates have invested about $1.75 billion to the fight against COVID-19.
Health beyond COVID-19
Of course, just because the world’s eyes were all on the Coronavirus pandemic, that doesn’t mean that other global health issues simply went away. Throughout this incredibly difficult year, philanthropists have continued to help the fight against diseases and life-altering ailments around the world.
The Wellcome Foundation in the UK has long been funding the development of a new vaccine for Ebola, the Alicia Keys-founded Keep A Child Alive foundation has been helping around 150,000 people a year since 2003, and technologist Tej Kohli founded the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute to cure and alleviate blindness in some of the poorest communities around the world, currently standing at 43,255 free surgical procedures.
Making day to day life easier
As we mentioned, while the pandemic has hit everyone hard, there’s no denying that it has illustrated the disparity between the haves and the have-nots around the world. Over the last twelve months we have seen some fantastic charitable acts across the globe as people have stepped in to highlight inequality and help people breathe a little easier.
For example, in the UK the Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford campaigned for free school meals for all children and helped to hold the government to account when it was revealed that the meals were grotesquely unacceptable.
Famous chef Angela Hartnett set up the Cook-19 project to feed frontline workers, while U2 (led by the famously charitable Bono) donated 10 million euro to make sure that front line staff in Ireland had the proper PPE. It’s not just about the vaccine, it’s about making sure that life can continue while we wait for it.