UBS Group AG, the world’s largest wealth manager, is donating $1.5 million to support a range of relief programs in India for COVID. The first tranche of the donation will target the immediate supply of oxygen, medical supplies and medicine to those most in need.
In the initial phase, UBS will work with Swasti, a Bangalore-based NGO which designs and delivers health and well-being solutions across India. In stage two, UBS will support COVAX on education programs and ensuring the equitable procurement and distribution of vaccines. In the third phase, UBS will team up with some of its existing partners in India to help build resilience in local communities and support mental well-being.
Edmund Koh, President of UBS Asia Pacific and member of the Group Executive Board, said: “The current wave of COVID in India has had a devastating impact across the country and our thoughts are with all who are suffering. As was the case last year, when we donated $1 million to support emergency relief for frontline and migrant workers, UBS is seeking to help alleviate the suffering in the worst affected regions.”
UBS has introduced several initiatives to assist its employees in India as they navigate the crisis. A Compassionate Payment of INR 20,000 will be made in May to all employees at Director level and below to assist with unexpected pandemic expenses of family members and their community. In addition, the UBS India Emergency Hardship Fund is being deployed to assist employees in need, while medical insurance has been extended to cover home quarantine expenses.
Michael Dargan, Chief Digital and Information Officer and member of the Group Executive Board, said: “My thoughts are with everyone in India. We are focused on supporting both the UBS team in India and the country more broadly. With more than 20 million cases, there’s an enormous amount of work to do. It’s a truly tragic situation and my heart goes out to everyone who has lost loved ones or is suffering with Covid-19.”
Phyllis Costanza, CEO of the Optimus Foundation, said: “The Optimus Foundation is working closely with partners on the ground in India to help front-line workers and local communities cope with the overwhelming number of new cases every day. We expect the situation to peak later this month, but it will take many months to return to normal. In addition to the immediate relief, we are looking at long-term community programs to help turn things around.”