Nfld. & Labrador

With fewer costs, tech companies pool money for COVID-19 response

The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology and Innovation has formed the Closed Door, Open Heart initiative to encourage businesses that are still operating remotely to step up and support the community.

About $200K raised over several days for charities and organizations

The Hungry Heart Café is getting donations from technology companies to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ariana Kelland/CBC)

Several technology companies in Newfoundland and Labrador have pooled funds to raise about $200,000 for local charities in just a few days using money saved by working remotely. 

The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology and Innovation has formed the Closed Door, Open Heart initiative to encourage businesses that are still operating remotely to step up and support the community.

It asks companies to contribute cash or an in-kind donation equivalent to between one and three months' worth of corporate expenses that will not be spent due to physical distancing.

Bluedrop, a St. John's-based company that handles management oversight and shared corporate and financial services, was one of the businesses that were forced to halt travel and entertainment for staff.

Mimi Sheriff, Bluedrop's corporate social responsibility lead, says companies are uncertain about the future but can decide if or how much they're able to contribute. (John Gushue/CBC)

Bluedrop decided to funnel those funds toward their pledge, NATI said. ClearRisk, Genoa Design and Cal Legrow have also contributed to the fund.

"They all found amounts that were comfortable to them right now, knowing that we're uncertain for what the future is going to hold for every company," said Mimi Sheriff of Bluedrop. Sheriff said all companies are feeling uncertain about the future, and that it's OK if businesses feel they can't help now.

Each company can pick their charity.

The Hungry Heart Café — a social enterprise initiative of Stella's Circle — will be one of the recipients of the donations. They will use the money to buy nutritious foods that will be delivered to individuals and families by a local taxi company.

Sheriff said they will decide each month what the company is able to give, and is encouraging others to step up, too.

"We consistently see that our local tech community is willing to work together for the greater good whether it is through monetary donations or in-kind support for the COVID-19 response," said NATI CEO Paul Preston.

"The culture of leadership and collaboration here in Newfoundland and Labrador is inspiring."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The St. John's Morning Show

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