Our Support for Global COVID-19 Relief

Taking Meaningful Action to Support Our Community

The pandemic has taken a personal toll on communities where we live and work, and Biogen has stepped up to make a lasting difference. We care deeply, and continue to build on our longstanding commitment to corporate responsibility by extending our charitable giving, in-kind donations, and volunteer efforts to address the needs of communities, families and health systems around the world.

In March, the Biogen Foundation initially committed $10 millionto support global response efforts for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds supported global organizations providing food and other immediate humanitarian relief services, easing the burden on healthcare systems around the world and expanding testing capacity. Through additional commitments, the Biogen Foundation has donated more than $11.7 million in grants to COVID-19 relief efforts, assisting more than 83 NGOs across 35 countries. We were among the first to respond to these immediate needs, and several nonprofits reported that Biogen’s early contributions helped catalyze additional funding.

Together, we have supported the global response to the pandemic and provided greater equity and access for our neighbors in need. On the international level, we provided the International Medical Corps with one of its first grants to mobilize training and testing across the world and purchase PPE for countries bracing for a surge in COVID-19 cases, in collaboration with the World Health Organization. In our headquarters community of Cambridge, Massachusetts, we helped Partners in Health expand testing for essential health workers who serve elderly clients and in North Carolina, we helped CareMessage provide mobile outreach to low-income, at-risk patients. We have provided in-kind donations of PPE including 3D printed face masks for healthcare workers in North Carolina and Massachusetts.

Biogen continues to build on our longstanding commitment to corporate responsibility by extending our charitable giving, in-kind donations, and volunteer efforts to address the needs of communities, families and health systems around the world.

 

Biogen Employees Caring Deeply

We are proud of the generosity of Biogen employees who have contributed more than $4.4 million to global non-profits, including the Biogen Foundation’s match. Much of their contributions also went to organizations supporting various COVID-19 relief efforts, including those delivering food and hygiene products, increasing testing and physician training, establishing telehealth services and e-learning programs, and procuring personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies for front line workers.

Biogen’s support for our communities includes an active volunteer program. To provide employees with more options for making a difference in their communities while allowing for social distancing and staying safe, we pioneered Care Deeply Every Day. Employees received eight hours of paid time off in 2020 to engage in virtual or safe in-person volunteer projects that help meet our corporate responsibility commitments. Together, Biogen employees helped global researchers with citizen science in Japan, tutored at-risk youth in North Carolina, cleared hiking trails in Massachusetts, and so much more.

 

Virtual STEM Learning

To prevent the pandemic from interrupting education, we quickly mobilized to bring our world- class Community Lab programs online. In May, we created an easy-to-navigate webpage as a virtual extension of Biogen’s in-person Community Labs. We have included a variety of science resources - video lessons, at-home experiments, learning documents and live Q&As – to help nurture the next generation of scientists, researchers, and public health professionals. During the summer, the Community Labs collaborated with Lemelson-MIT to pivot our hands-on summer lab programs to a free, online learning program with cutting-edge technology, immersive scientific experiences, and mentoring experiences for almost 400 students focusing on students from populations underrepresented in STEM. In November, Biogen collaborated with the American Public Health Association (APHA) to pilot a first-of-its-kind high school course on climate change and its effects on human health. Biogen volunteers taught the material to more than 400 students in Massachusetts and North Carolina. Following this pilot, the APHA will further refine the course before formally launching nationwide in 2021, with the potential to transform a generation’s perspective on climate change. Together these innovative virtual programs have reached more than 2,500 students.

In addition, grantees of our STAR Initiative, which is fostering a STEM ecosystem in the greater Boston area, were able to pivot their programming in response to the pandemic and continued providing support for their students. Read more about this work in the year two report.

 

A Global Response

These and other efforts are part of Biogen’s ongoing commitment to our communities, and to promoting health and equity through our core business and through the Biogen Foundation.

United States

The Biogen Foundation has supported efforts that have a nationwide reach as well as more than 35 nonprofit organizations working to help local communities that need it most.

Nationally, we support the CDC Foundation to help expand access to testing and treatment, with a focus on the most vulnerable. To address the rise in food insecurity, we also support Feeding America to help deliver needed nutrition to communities across the country.

In Massachusetts, we provided grants to expand testing and telehealth programs, provide emergency assistance to families experiencing financial hardship, including funds to cover groceries, food deliveries, childcare, rent, mortgage, utilities, and medications. Taking a broad view of public health, we supported immigrants and undocumented workers who lack access to federal and state programs, provided shelter and food to 11,000 people experiencing homelessness, and assistance for frontline workers. So far, we have made in-kind donations of more than 72,000 masks and face coverings and funded Partners In Health to expand testing for essential health workers who serve elderly clients. With this support, Partners in Health will ensure that 200 essential workers are tested every two weeks, which will help keep 500 seniors safe as they receive essential care.

In North Carolina, we provided grants to feed food-insecure households, provide emergency shelter, support local nonprofits and small businesses impacted by the pandemic, and promote access to education for under-served students. Biogen Foundation grants covered critical operating costs for health centers, helped procure PPE for healthcare works, and funded the transition of 55 clinics to telehealth programs. Most recently, we helped CareMessage expand into North Carolina, providing more people access to mobile technologies to improve health outcomes. With our support, CareMessage will roll-out mobile outreach for 10 health clinics in North Carolina, reaching an additional 50,000 patients, to increase vaccination rates and reduce the cost of care for marginalized and low-income patients.

 

Europe and Canada

The Biogen Foundation has funded organizations across Canada and Europe, procuring PPE and supplies for health care services, supporting people who have lost employment, and funding hotlines for people seeking emotional support, and responding to a variety of other local needs.

In Europe, we funded Red Cross chapters in Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Our donations are dedicated to supporting hospitals, medical and social services, and public emergency services during this unprecedented time of need.

We helped Poland’s most established non-profit organization, Wielka Orkiestra Swiatecznej Pomocy, to procure PPE and other supplies for hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. In Italy, we gave to Protezione Civile, a national emergency-response organization, and employees volunteered with Dynamo Camp, a recreational camp for sick children. In Germany, we helped stock food banks and engaged in a variety of volunteer efforts, from filling and decorating pillows for women suffering from breast cancer to recording audio stories for seniors in a nursing home and bedtime stories for seriously ill and disabled children.

In Canada, we are working with HelpAge Canada to support the needs of the senior population, combating isolation and promoting the health of this at-risk group.

 

Intercontinental (Asia-Pacific & Latin America)

We have donated to support pandemic relief efforts in China, employees packed care boxes for COVID-19 patients in South Korea, supported grants for shelter and food for homeless people in Australia and New Zealand, and supported families with sick children who came to Japan seeking medical treatment and were stuck in the country due to travel bans.

Across Latin America, Biogen support allowed supplies to be delivered to 24,000 vulnerable people with months-worth of food and cleaning supplies; funded organizations that are creating safer spaces and promoting self-care practices for women; and procured PPE and other supplies for front line workers, including 35 hospital beds, 18 transport stretchers and 60 stethoscopes. In Colombia, we helped 10 health institutions in COVID-19 hotspots expand their intensive care units by donating more than 16,500 masks, gloves and bottles of sanitizer. In Chile, we supplied food, bottled water, and hygiene products to more than 2,500 people. In Brazil, we gave to Central Unica das Favelas to provide cash transfers to more than 1,600 single mothers living in the country’s most at-risk communities.

Throughout these regions, the Biogen Foundation will continue to support organizations reaching those most at risk, including street cleaners, healthcare workers, migrant workers, low-income families, the elderly, young children, and victims of domestic violence. These efforts include distributing food, face masks, and other hygiene products, and developing campaigns on safe handwashing and hygiene practices

 

 

To learn more about how the Biogen Foundation lives our credo of caring deeply every day, visit the Biogen Foundation website.