Robyn Fenty, better known as the celebrity music artist Rihanna, is on the philanthropic front lines of the COVID-19 impact on the world. In March, her charity the Clara Lionel Foundation (named for her grandparents) donated $5 million to relief efforts both in the U.S. and the Caribbean.
She also donated an unknown quantity of personal protective equipment to hospitals in New York State. In early April, her foundation teamed up with the Shawn Carter Foundation belonging to rapper Jay-Z to provide $2 million in grants to support COVID-19 relief for health workers, first responders and their children, as well as the elderly, incarcerated, homeless, and undocumented in New York City and in Los Angeles.
Now, in mid-April, while Rihanna’s own father recovers from COVID-19, the Clara Lionel Foundation and Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, are joining forced to each donate $2.1 million to a very special cause.
The Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles goes to support victims of domestic violence, perhaps the population put most at risk by the shelter-in-place order that is still vitally necessary. The $4.2 million combined donation will provide ten weeks of support to individuals at risk. It will include shelter, meals, counseling, and child-care for those fleeing domestic violence in this time when shelters are either packed and at high risk of COVID-19 outbreaks, or simply closed.
Rihanna herself is a survivor of domestic violence, as are over 12 million men and women each year in the U.S. With millions out of work, law enforcement agencies have said that calls involving domestic violence have been surging wildly. Estimates of the increase are between 18 and 30%, with four times as many more people seeking help.
Rihanna and Dorsey both acknowledge that while this donation helps only L.A., “victims of domestic violence exist all over the world, so this is just the beginning.”
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