BlackRock pledges $50m for vulnerable people during Covid-19 outbreak

BlackRock, the world’s largest investment group, has pledged to donate $50m (£43m) to help people struggling with financial difficulties because of the global spread of coronavirus.

The US fund manager says it has already made the first $18m funding tranche available to community organisations such as food banks in the US and Europe, in addition to earlier donations in Asia, to provide immediate support to the most vulnerable in society.

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In the UK, BlackRock has provided £2m to the National Emergencies Trust, and $1.25m to provide medical supplies for healthcare workers across Europe.

Larry Fink, BlackRock’s chief executive, said the firm believed it had a “responsibility to support those least able to cope and bounce back, and who will feel its impact hardest”.

Fink said the asset manager wanted to “help address the financial hardship and social dislocation that this pandemic brings in its wake, as families grapple with job disruptions, school closures, and unexpected childcare and medical costs”.

BlackRock said it would continue to pay workers who provided services such as catering and maintenance at its offices, even if they were unable to work.

The firm manages assets worth $7.4tn.

Other financial institutions have also promised large donations to help people who are facing economic hardship during the Covid-19 pandemic.

US bank JP Morgan has also pledged to contribute $50m to organisations to help them deal with the immediate public health effects of the virus, as well as the long-term economic consequences.

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