Roche's Genentech dials up new round of COVID-19 charitable giving

Roche's Genentech is steppping up to deliver another $42 million in aid to COVID-19-impacted communities. (Genentech)

As COVID-19 continues to hammer communities, Roche's Genentech is committing another $42 million in charitable donations as it moves into a second phase of giving.

The pharma initially laid out about $7 million in emergency relief when the COVID-19 pandemic began, spending on immediate needs for front-line healthcare workers and hard-hit local communities in California, where Genentech is located. The extension funding now begins to address ongoing needs that align with its charitable mission.

“It became clear to all of us pretty quickly that this was not going to be like most disasters when you have an event and you quickly start rebuilding, and that this is going to have a very uncertain trajectory,” Kristin Campbell Reed, senior director for Genentech corporate and employee giving, said.

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Focused on three areas—ongoing critical health needs, strengthening education and grassroots community support—Genentech plans to split donations between large community foundations and targeted local grants to groups in San Francisco and other locations with Genentech facilities.

One of those groups is the San Francisco Foundation, where Genentech support has helped fund more than 250 organizations. In education, Genentech gave $1 million in seed funding to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation for the creation of the COVID-19 Education Partnership, which funds Santa Clara and San Mateo K-12 schools in supporting teachers and students with distance learning tools and working to bridge education gaps caused by the pandemic disruption.

Genentech’s latest donation adds to the large sum of funds pledged by Big Pharma. Pfizer, AbbVie, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and others have committed millions in COVID-19 relief to help healthcare workers, patients and communities. Along with research into treatment and vaccines, the donations are helping improve the reputation of the industry with consumers. 

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Genentech is likely not the last pharma company to extend extra funding as the pandemic continues to pound both the economy and Americans’ health.

“We may be past the peak—I hope we’re past the peak—but we still have a long tail where hot spots will emerge in many different places, so strengthening the ability to respond is something we’re focused on,” Campbell Reed said.