Small business giving back to the community

Companies Going Above and Beyond During the Pandemic

4 min read • Mar 28, 2020 • Grant Olsen

Now that the White House and Senate have agreed upon their record-breaking stimulus package, it appears that relief is on the horizon for America’s entrepreneurs. The package totals $2 trillion and includes $350 billion for loans to small businesses and $250 billion for unemployment insurance.

“This is a wartime level of investment into our nation,” explained Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a statement on the financial rescue plan. “The men and women of the greatest country on earth are going to defeat this coronavirus and reclaim our future, and the Senate is going to make sure they have the ammunition they need to do it.”

More good news comes in the form of good deeds from companies big and small. Although the pandemic has created brutal market conditions for nearly all business owners, many companies are still taking a stand for what they believe is right. And their actions are doing more than just improving people’s lives. As Mark Cuban said in a recent interview, the way businesses react to the crisis could “define their brand for decades.”

Appalachian Distillery Gets Practical

With crucial hand sanitizer running in short supply nationwide, distilleries such as Appalachian Distillery have converted a portion of their production efforts from alcoholic beverages to sanitizer.

Owner Dwayne Freeman says he and his employees are just trying to help people amid the COVID-19 crisis. Although the production process takes a lot of labor, the distillery is offering up to 10 bottles of sanitizer free of charge to anyone who needs it.

This story is a great example of how your business can adapt to make a positive impact. Appalachian Distillery continues to make their usual products. But they’ve also taken inherent (and never before used) business strengths and applied them to the greater good.

Airbnb Opens Its Doors

It takes an army to provide care and assistance during a crisis. So where do you house the army? Airbnb has stepped up to offer free or subsidized lodging for doctors, relief personnel, and others who are working to combat COVID-19.

“Medical workers and first responders are providing lifesaving support during the coronavirus outbreak and we want to help,” explained Airbnb cofounder Joe Gebbia in a statement. “We’ve heard from countless hosts around the world who want to provide a comforting home to heroic first responders. We are connecting our nonprofit partners, government agencies, and others with our incredible host community to work together in these extraordinary times.”

Ultimately, the company would like to offer lodging to 100,000 workers globally. Such an initiative will definitely ease the burden in many countries and allow workers to get to affected areas faster.

What can we learn from this effort by Airbnb? You don’t need to do everything philanthropic on your own. By partnering with the hosts in their system, Airbnb is sharing the cost burden of this plan, while also letting their hosts receive some of the good vibes.

Loom Goes Free

When schools began closing across the nation, educators faced the challenge of continuing classes for students. Some schools already had systems in place, but most were facing a potentially disastrous scenario.

Loom, which provides a video communication platform, stepped in to offer its Loom Pro services free of charge to teachers and students. My daughter is in kindergarten and has been using the platform for daily lessons from her teacher. And it’s not just for elementary students who can benefit from this plan. Loom also offers the same service to all universities and educational institutions where Loom is used in the classroom.

One important thing to note about Loom’s generous initiative is that it isn’t timebound. They’ve decided to permanently make Loom Pro free to teachers and students. This interesting approach helps set their brand apart from the thousands of other companies that are enacting temporary initiatives to help during this crisis.

KEEN Saves Crisis Workers’ Soles

To help bring comfort and support to those on the front lines of the crisis, shoe brand KEEN donated 100,000 pairs of shoes. By their math, that’s about $10 million worth of product.

In a statement on their website, the company explained that they wanted to “help a worker stay comfortable during a long shift or simply allow people to get outside to breathe in the benefits of nature while safely practicing social distancing.”

Donating millions of dollars worth of your product is impressive enough, but the folks at KEEN aren’t resting on their laurels. They’re actively looking for more opportunities to serve.

You can apply this valuable lesson to your own company. Start by looking for ways to make a difference, take action, and then begin thinking about the next phase of your philanthropy. As part of this process, be sure to talk with your employees and get their ideas. By working together to make a positive impact, you’ll enhance the lives of strangers, as well as your internal team.


Grant Olsen

Grant Olsen is a writer specializing in small business loans, leadership skills, and growth strategies. He is a contributing writer for KSL 5 TV, where his articles have generated more than 6 million page views, and has been featured on and Grant is also the author of the book "Rhino Trouble." He has a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University.