Rob Stringer on Sony's $100 million Global Relief Fund for Covid-19

Rob Stringer on Sony's $100 million Global Relief Fund for Covid-19

Sony Corp has announced the launch of the Sony Global Relief Fund for Covid-19, a $100 million (£80.4m) fund to support those around the world affected by the virus – and Sony Music Group chairman Rob Stringer has explained what the major is doing to help tackle the crisis.

In an internal memo obtained by Music Week, Stringer notes it is "incredibly heartening to see how our Sony Music family has mobilised during this time". 

"These are times that reveal our true character, and at every turn you are demonstrating what I already know: that we are a company made up of compassionate, caring and creative business people," he said.

Noting Sony's launch of the relief fund, the British boss said: "I am also pleased that we are introducing a matching donation programme across our entire organisation for employees. This means we will match your donations made to select pandemic relief efforts around the world and more details will be shared in the coming days. In the past week, the level of collaboration between the Music Group and Sony Corp to develop this initiative has been inspiring teamwork-wise, but I want to assure you that these steps are just the beginning of our response efforts."

Sony Music Entertainment is set to unveil its own specific initiatives to help those affected by the coronavirus epidemic in the coming weeks as the major helps to take a lead in relief efforts as the crisis hits the industry hard. And Stringer's note acknowledges that there will be tough times ahead for many, as the new financial year kicked in yesterday.

"Of course, like every business affected by this crisis, we now know that the next 12 months will bring challenges unlike any we’ve experienced before," he said. "Nevertheless, I am confident that we have what it takes to overcome the headwinds we’re facing as long as we remain focused on our values and continue building on our strengths. Whatever lies ahead, we will continue to put our employees, artists, and songwriters first in every action we take."

Stringer signed off on a positive note: "This unscheduled break from our routines is a valuable reminder to all of us to prioritise what matters most in life: the health and safety of us and our loved ones. I hope you will keep finding new ways to stay connected, stay well, and stay positive in the days and weeks ahead."

Meanwhile, the main Sony Corp fund will provide support in three areas: assistance for those individuals engaged in frontline medical and first responder efforts to fight the virus; support for children and educators now working remotely; and support for members of the creative community in the entertainment industry.

The music sector will see support from efforts to help 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 television productions.

Sony also announced that employees will be able to provide their support through a matching gift programme that is scheduled to be offered to its approximately 110,000 workers worldwide.

The fund will devote $10m (£8m) first to the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO powered by the UN Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, as well as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assist medical workers and others on the frontline of response efforts to the virus. 

Sony will work with its external partners to explore how it can support activities that prevent the further spread and contribute to treatment of the Covid-19 virus.

The company will also look at ways to leverage its technologies in support of education activities, and cooperate with educators to implement these measures.

Kenichiro Yoshida, president and CEO, Sony Corporation, 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.”

Stringer and Sony Music seem likely to unveil further initiatives in the coming days and weeks. Watch this space...

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