Sony Corporation (“Sony”) announced on April 2nd the establishment of the “Sony Global Relief Fund for COVID-19,” a 100 million US dollar fund to support those around the world affected by the COVID-19 virus.
Through this fund, Sony is providing support in three areas: assistance for those individuals engaged in frontline medical and first responder efforts to fight the virus, support for children and educators who must now work remotely, and support for members of the creative community in the entertainment industry, which has been greatly impacted by the spread of the virus.
The main support initiatives Sony has carried out using this fund to date are outlined below.
Sony is providing support for medical workers and others on the frontline of response efforts to the virus while working with its external partners to explore ways that it can support activities that prevent the further spread and contribute to treatment of the COVID-19 virus.
- Total of 10 million US dollars donated to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO powered by the UN Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, as well as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
- Manufacturing of medical-use face shields. Around 80 thousand face shield sets have been donated to medical institutions within Japan and abroad.
- Promoting the following support activities as part of a collaboration with M3 Inc. to bring together the technologies and expertise of the two companies to support individuals engaged in medical efforts to treat the COVID-19 virus, and to assist patients fighting the disease.
- Provision of a diagnosis support service for suspected cases of COVID-19 based on chest CT scan images*1, and development and dissemination of related AI-based image diagnosis solutions to medical institutions nationwide
- Provided free online lectures to share the latest knowledge and other key insight from doctors on the frontline of COVID-19 treatment to doctors and medical workers nationwide
- Conducted demonstration to support “virtual excursions” for inpatients using VR/AR
- Provided XperiaTM smartphones for inpatients and families to communicate online
- Currently assessing ideas that has been collected internally, to create new value in the medical and health care fields while utilizing the Sony’s startup creation and support program (SSAP)
In the area of education, where children are losing education opportunities as a result of lockdowns and school closures, Sony is exploring ways to leverage its technologies to support educational activities and cooperate with educators to implement these measures.
- Collaborating with NPOs and local organization in Japan, China and the US to provide KOOV®*2 robot programming learning kit and related teaching materials to schools and school-age children free-of-charge. Additionally, provided free online programming workshops using KOOV® to school children in Japan.
Creative Community (including Games, Music, Pictures)
Together with its group companies engaged in the entertainment industry, Sony is seeking ways to support creators, artists and all those in professions supporting the industry, who have been impacted by the cancellation or postponement of concerts and live events, or the shutting down of film and television productions.
- In the area of Games, started the Play At Home initiative which includes the establishment of a 10 million US dollars fund to support small independent game studios.
- Donated to organizations in support of creators involved in creating music, film and television production.
- Participated in "500 ARTISTS WANTED," a program sponsored by Music.com to support U.S. artists
- The songs and their unique stories will be solicited on Music.com, and artists will receive a financial reward
- Some selected songs are remixed to be compatible with "360 Reality Audio", an immersive audio experience utilizing object-based spatial audio technology, and published on Music.com
- Established support measures for industry creators including cinematographers and photographers.
- Financial contribution to cinematographers and camera operators engaged in sports, filmmaking and scripted television and commercial production
- Complimentary maintenance service of camera systems for Sony Imaging PRO Support members
Fundraising and donation matching with Sony employees around the world
Sony carried out fundraising activities for employees at Sony Group businesses around the world in April and May. Thanks to the extensive voluntary participation of countless global employees, the total amount raised (including donation matching efforts provided for by the fund) was around 1.4 million US dollars. These funds will be donated to various global organizations to support frontline workers fighting the spread of the virus, people and regions affected by poverty, and the children who represent our future.
Furthermore, support activities in each region are expanding, and Sony Group companies based in the U.S. donated a total of 1.5 million US dollars to government-related support funds and education-related initiatives.
As a "creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology", Sony strives to be engaged in a wide range of relief activities together with its partners and stakeholders to contribute to filling the world with emotion.
*1：Imaging analysis is believed to be of important significance in COVID-19 diagnosis, together with clinical data such as PCR tests and other clinical examinations. This service enables chest CT scan images of suspected COVID-19 patients to be remotely diagnosed by expert radiologists.
*2：KOOV is an educational robotics programming kit the cultivates learning and creativity through using blocks to freely create “shapes” and then give them various movements through programming. With the concept that each person can create their own unique “shape,” this teaching tool has been released globally in the US and China in addition to Japan. Read more about KOOV here (https://www.koov.io/teaser).
Read more about the “Sony Global Relief Fund for COVID-19” here.
About Sony Corporation
Sony Corporation is a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology. From game and network services to music, pictures, electronics, semiconductors and financial services - Sony's purpose is to fill the world with emotion through the power of creativity and technology. For more information, visit: http://www.sony.net/