As the Syrian refugee crisis has transcended borders and minds, a growing number of U.S. corporations have reached into their pocketbooks and outward to their public spheres of influence to assist with the humanitarian efforts.
Fast food giant, McDonalds, has spearheaded a “multimillion-dollar” media initiative for the U.N.’s World Food Program.
These funds, they say, will help pay for television airtime supporting WFP’s response to the crisis, which recently featured the animated ad, “Stop Hunger. Start Peace.” Burger King, DreamWorks, Facebook and Twitter, among others, have also backed the initiative in solidarity.
“We felt it was an opportunity for us to contribute something meaningful, something authentic,” McDonalds CEO Steve Easterbrook said to the New York Times. “This is not about single brands. This is about doing good.”
Apple will be making its own “substantial” contribution to the Save the Children charity and match donations from its’ employees two-for-one.
They also released a new version of Crowded House’s 1999 song, “Help is Coming,” on iTunes with proceeds going to Save the Children.
“Apple is dedicated to advancing human rights around the world,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a statement. “We hope the actions we’re taking will help make the situation less desperate for some, and ease the hardship so many are enduring.”
The donations will be sent to four different non-profits: Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders, the UNHCR and the International Rescue Committee.
“These nonprofits are helping deliver essential assistance, including shelter, food and water and medical care, and looking after the security and rights of people in need,” Google wrote on its One Today page.
This support has been welcomed by aid agencies, but the crisis has proven exorbitantly expensive, even for the united front of America’s most powerful corporations.
The WFP reaches more than 4 million Syrians and 1.3 million refugees in camps in neighboring countries. But for 2015, the aid agencies requested a whopping $7.4 billion to adequately care for all the refugees. As of September, they received less than 40 percent of that total.
The funding shortages led the U.N.’s food program to cut the aid of 360,000 refugees from Syria’s neighboring countries, Lebanon and Jordan, in September leaving most refugees in those countries living on about 50 cents a day.
But the surge in corporate donations has brought new hope to the WFP as a means to bring more support and attention to their appeal.
“This gives us a megaphone,” WFP’s director of private sector partnerships Jay Aldous said to Reuters. “We think the sum total of using the voices of all of these companies is greater than the sum total of a singular financial gift.”