We have long talked about how much we value collaboration – it’s raised a lot of barns. Over the past few months, you have shown us just how true that is. You have come out strong in support of each other and worked to stay resilient through all the challenges we’ve faced from the coronavirus. You have been critical in Colorado’s path to recover, rebuild and reopen.
We’ve shared the impact of several members here in the Fourth Floor, on our blog and through our social media. Here are a few more examples of that hard work in action:
Amgen and Adaptive Biotechnologies launched a partnership to discover and develop fully human neutralizing antibodies to potentially prevent or treat COVID-19. Meanwhile, Lakewood-based Terumo BCT is helping to fight COVID-19 with equipment that collects and processes plasma from people who have recovered from coronavirus; a blood-filtering system that helps immunocompromised patients fight complications of coronavirus; and pathogen-reduction technology that can kill virus strains in blood. The Boettcher Foundation is supporting innovation by awarding nearly $1 million in grants to research projects that are fighting COVID-19 and potential future pandemics.
Returning to Work Safely
PCL Construction has helped develop a smart screening and testing pod that can be quickly and easily deployed to areas where testing for COVID-19 is needed, such as at entrances to hospitals, office buildings, schools and other places. Kroger has shared their lessons from coronavirus with its Kroger Blueprint to help businesses reopen safely and in sync with state plans.
Lending a Hand
Bank of America has continued its support across the country, and in the Denver market specifically, it has donated funds to cover administrative costs to create and manage the Colorado COVID Relief Fund; it contributed $25,000 to Mayor Hancock’s small business micro-grant program; and it deployed $970,000 to nonprofits with immediate needs.
FirstBank has also stepped up during the crisis, launching a Support Local webpage with a list of restaurants that are still open; providing over 1,500 meals to employees at grocery stores, hospitals and nonprofit shelters; contributing $150,000 to Make4Covid, a Colorado-based start-up that creates personal protective equipment using 3-D printing; giving $600,000 to economic recovery and emergency relief efforts, including the Colorado COVID Relief Fund; and implementing a customer relief program that offers three months of loan payment deferrals to the bank’s customers.
U.S. Bank was named the most essential bank amid COVID-19, according to The Harris Poll’s The Essential 100: Company Reputation Amid COVID-19 ranking. The ranking was based on a national survey asking Americans their opinion on how companies have responded to the pandemic. The bank has taken several actions including modifying personal and small business products for customers, instituting a premium pay program for frontline employees and expediting community giving programs.
Wells Fargo committed in April to donate all gross processing fees from the Paycheck Protection Program and this month unveiled the details of a $400 million effort to help small businesses keep their doors open, retain employees and rebuild. Through the company’s new Open for Business Fund, the company will engage nonprofit organizations to provide capital, technical support and long-term resiliency programs to small businesses with an emphasis on minority-owned businesses.
Like many of our banks, our credit unions, including Canvas Credit Union, Bellco Credit Union, Ent Credit Union, Red Rocks Credit Union and Westerra Credit Union, have also offered payment deferrals and short-term loans and have provided support for COVID-19 relief.
HealthONE, a division of HCA Healthcare, has taken steps to help protect the financial security of its frontline caregivers and support colleagues, including a “pandemic pay continuation” policy. For colleagues with reduced hours, the company will seek to redeploy them to other opportunities so they can continue working. Those who cannot be redeployed will continue to receive 70 percent of base pay for up to seven weeks. For colleagues working in patient care facilities who are quarantined per CDC guidelines, the health system will pay 100% of base pay for scheduled hours regardless of where the exposure took place.
Other Companies Stepping Up
Since its launch in March with the support of partners like Serendipity Catering, the Denver Emergency Food Network has delivered more than 275,000 meals to homebound families and elderly individuals in need since it launched on March 18.
Barron’s reranked its 100 Most Sustainable Companies that it originally released in February to reassess how companies are responding to COVID-19 and protests over racial inequality. As a result, VF Corporation was named #1. The company has provided $10.3 million to causes fighting COVID-19, produced more than 3 million isolation gowns for first responders and continues to pay and provide benefits for all office, retail and distribution center staff. The company also established a new Council to Advance Racial Equity to combat racial inequity in educational access, economic equity and environmental justice.
Xcel Energy has committed more than $20 million to short- and long-term corporate giving efforts, supporting 15 local food banks, including the Food Bank of the Rockies in Denver, and launched a $2 for $1 employee match program for COVID-19 disaster response.
Denver Water has also taken steps to support its customers, including helping customers who are concerned about paying their bills and temporarily suspending water shut-offs due to delinquent payments.
You can read about all the ways Chamber investors have stepped up to make an impact here, and if you’re giving back, we’d like to share it – you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with your story.
We know this crisis isn’t over, but it’s clear you’re ready to work hard to overcome it, together. Thank you for your hard work and your support of the community.
Kelly Brough is the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber.