Global billionaires donated $7.2bn to tackle COVID-19

Lily Canter
·2 mins read
Some 209 billionaires donated record amounts to tackle the pandemic, according to research by UBS and PwC. Credit: Getty.
Some 209 billionaires donated record amounts to tackle the pandemic, according to research by UBS and PwC. Credit: Getty.

Billionaires are giving more than at any time in history, committing $7.2bn (£5.6bn) to global coronavirus efforts.

Some 209 billionaires have donated record amounts in just three months in a bid to tackle the pandemic, according to research by UBS and PwC.

The support between March and June 2020 came via financial donations, manufactured goods and equipment such as PPE and commitments to COVID-19 treatments.

Philanthropists in the US gave the greatest amount, handing over almost $4.6bn.

This was followed by Chinese billionaires who gave $678.8m.

READ MORE: Billionaire wealth smashes records during COVID-19

The biggest category of support was financial with 175 billionaires giving $5.5bn to support foundations, NGOs, hospitals, and hotels for emergency workers. They also donated money to buy face masks and ventilators.

Some 24 billionaires converted manufacturing production to make personal protective equipment and health devices to an estimated value of $1.4bn. Perfume and chemical factories switched to making hand sanitiser while car factories made ventilators.

Meanwhile 10 billionaires targeted impacts, such as building production facilities for vaccines, to the estimated value of $336.6m.

The report also noted a shift in billionaire behaviour with entrepreneurs turning into philanthropists earlier in their careers than previously.

READ MORE: Ifo: Global economy will shrink by more than 4% in 2020

There is also a drive for more strategic, goal orientated philanthropy, such as tackling disease, rather than concentrating on financial donations.

And billionaires are shifting toward sustainable business and investments as part of their philanthropic activity. This is largely being realised via investment in clean technology.

“As well as being some of the most generous donors in the heat of the pandemic, they are bringing innovation to philanthropy to give it more strategic impact and raising their game on environmental and social responsibility,” said report authors Josef Stadler and Marcel Tschanz.

Examples include Azim Premji, chairman of Indian IT corporation Wipro (WIT) who is dedicated to education in India via his Azim Premji Foundation and American software entrepreneur David Duffield, the founder of animal welfare foundation Maddie's fund.

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