Among other initiatives, the foundation’s funds will go towards supporting local food banks for at-risk communities in the US, accelerating testing and care in countries such as Haiti and Malawi, mobilising resources and support for Native communities, training healthcare workers, and providing equipment for frontline health workers (many of whom are currently grappling with a shortage of masks, breathing equipment, and more). It also plans to “help establish and maintain intensive care units, and accelerate the development of vaccines and other therapies”.
"Never has it been more important or urgent to protect and prepare marginalised and underserved communities – those who will be hit hardest by this pandemic,” said Justine Lucas, the executive director of the Clara Lionel Foundation, in a release.
Founded in 2012 by Rihanna – in honour of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite – the foundation typically focuses on emergency response and preparedness, providing aid during natural disasters. In the past, it has particularly focused on efforts across the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa, but its new COVID-19 efforts will now help bring its resources across the globe.
Rihanna joins a number of fellow celebrities who are doing their part to combat coronavirus: this week, singer Ciara and husband Russell Wilson have donated one million meals to Food Lifeline, which provides “food to more than 300 food banks, shelters and meal programs across Western Washington”. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds also pledged $1 million [£860,000] to food banks in the US and Canada that are currently overwhelmed by demand.