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Top ways we’ve given back during COVID-19

Innovation and generosity have proven fruitful in the fight against the pandemic. Here are nine ways celebrities have helped

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Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively attend the premiere of "Pokemon Detective Pikachu" at Military Island in Times Square on May 2, 2019 in New York City.Ryan Reynolds and his wife, Blake Lively, have stood behind several charitable initiatives since the pandemic began, including committing US$1 million to Feeding America and Food Banks Canada (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

From donating to charities and funding research to providing supplies and support services, acts of generosity have helped in the fight against COVID-19. 

CPAs have also stepped up to the plate, assisting Canadian businesses during the pandemic. One example of this is CPA Gerald Chang, managing partner of B.C.’s Summit Labels. In the early days of the pandemic, Chang and his team began an initiative to print and distribute free labels to craft breweries and distilleries that had switched to manufacturing hand sanitizer. “So far, we’ve helped 26 companies get over 100,000 units of hand sanitizer into the hands of the people who need them most—our heroic health-care workers, police officers, firefighters, and frontline community members,” Gerald told CPA BC in April.  

Celebrities around the world have also opened their hearts and wallets during the pandemic. Here are nine times some big stars have helped make a difference. 

1. THE WEEKND: The Canadian singer, songwriter and record producer donated US$1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts—$500,000 of which supported Scarborough Health Network’s frontline workers, while the other half was donated to MusiCares, a charity that assists those in need in the music community. 

2. SHAWN MENDES:  The Canadian-born pop artist also brought his charitable endeavours home, via the Shawn Mendes Foundation, donating US$175,000 to the SickKids Foundation to provide medical resources and efficient care to fight COVID-19. 

3. DOLLY PARTON: When the country-singing legend made a US$1-million contribution to Vanderbilt University in April 2020, she didn’t know it would be used to fund the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Parton found out after her name appeared among sponsors on a preliminary report of the vaccine. 

4. TOM HANKS AND RITA WILSON: After recovering from COVID-19 in the spring of 2020, the actors (and married couple) donated blood and plasma to aid in finding a vaccine. 

5. MADONNA: The pop icon reached out to prisoners to provide 100,000 masks to jails and prisons in collaboration with the REFORM Alliance, an organization that aims to reduce the number of people unjustly under control of the criminal justice system. The queen of pop also donated US$1 million to the Gates Philanthropy Partners’ COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator to help with COVID-19 treatments.

6. JOHN TAVARES: The captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs and other team members donated free meals and UberEats gift cards to 10,000 health-care workers at Mississauga’s Trillium Health Partner campuses. They also helped with emergency room training for health-care workers at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. 

7. RYAN REYNOLDS, BLAKE LIVELY: The Canadian actor and his wife have stood behind several charitable initiatives since the pandemic began, including committing US$1 million to Feeding America and Food Banks Canada to help low-income households, and supplying PPE for Greater Toronto Area health-care workers alongside hockey icon Hayley Wickenheiser. More recently, the Hollywood couple donated $500,000 to Toronto and Vancouver’s Covenant House, and $100,000 to the SickKids Foundation.

8. OPRAH WINFREY: The media mogul’s US$10-million donation was spread across many organizations, including America’s Food Fund, a charity that feeds seniors, those who have lost their jobs, children who rely on school meals, and low-income families.   

9. JACK DORSEY: The Twitter CEO donated US$1 billion (almost a third of is wealth) to various initiatives in the fight against COVID-19, including uniting with Rihanna—who provided US$1 million to relief efforts through the Clara Lionel Foundation—to combat domestic violence, and Beyoncé to assist frontline health-care workers.


Find out more about how Canadian CPAs and their businesses have responded to COVID-19 with innovation and resilience in the face of 2020’s economic crisis.