MILAN — “No one is truly free unless we are all free. This also includes being free from sickness,” said Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer of Gucci, who is spearheading the company’s latest effort to fight the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gucci is donating $500,000 to UNICEF USA, the United Nations Children’s Fund, on behalf of the #GucciCommunity, to make sure that the future COVID-19 vaccine will be available to the most vulnerable communities around the world.
“Now that a COVID-19 vaccine appears to be ready for use, the true challenge is ensuring that it is procured and distributed fairly,” Bizzarri said.
To encourage global solidarity, Gucci is endorsing the “21-day challenge,” running Dec. 5 to 26. “Over the next 21 days, everyone is invited to give their donations, large or small, which Gucci will match, up to a maximum of an additional $100,000. This is a global battle, a global effort, and the commitment also needs to be global,” Bizzarri underscored.
Contributions can be made at gucci.benevity.org/community.
“As the pandemic threatens the hard-won gains to protect and advance child’s rights around the world, UNICEF is working on the equitable global supply and distribution of a safe COVID-19 vaccine when available,” said Michael J. Nyenhuis, president and ceo of UNICEF USA, expressing his gratitude to Gucci for its “commitment to help every child survive and thrive.”
Gucci is answering UNICEF’s call for support for COVAX, the vaccine pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a global collaboration meant to speed up the development and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and supply COVID-19 vaccines for more than 180 countries on behalf of the COVAX Facility, which is working to ensure that no country is left without access to the vaccine.
Gucci’s donation will support UNICEF’s work in preparing for the roll-out of a safe vaccine. Among some of its initiatives, the company will offer test kits helping to stop community transmission; purchase tens of thousands of vaccine fridges; provide millions of items of personal protective equipment to keep health-care workers safe, and cost of transfer of the vaccines. The Italian luxury house will also help to raise awareness so that there is demand for vaccines when they arrive.
The brand made two separate donations to crowdfunding campaigns: 1 million euros were donated to the Italian Civil Protection Department (Protezione Civile) in partnership with Intesa Sanpaolo, while the other 1 million euros was channeled to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the World Health Organization, through a matching campaign with Facebook.
Gucci is a longtime UNICEF partner. During the 2005-15 decade, it supported Schools for Africa, training more than 8,700 teachers and educators, building nearly 300 school classrooms, supplying 14,600 school desks and creating more than 1,800 water and sanitation facilities in schools.
From January 2018 to August 2019, as a founding partner of BeyGood4Burundi, created by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, in partnership with UNICEF USA, Gucci and Chime for Change supported the construction and rehabilitation of Water Access, Sanitation and Hygiene infrastructure in targeted areas across Burundi.
Gucci is also founding member of UNICEF’s Girls’ Empowerment Initiative.
Last May, Gucci’s Chime for Change launched the #StandWithWomen campaign, in partnership with the Kering Foundation, to fund nonprofit organizations working to address increased gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.