March 17 (UPI) — Facebook said Tuesday it will offer $100 million in grants to small businesses in dozens of countries that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the funds are intended to support 30,000 small businesses in more than 30 nations where the social media company has employees.
“Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, and many of the people who run these businesses are heavily affected by the crisis — especially as more and more people sensibly stay home,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
“The longer the crisis goes on, the greater the risk to small businesses and to the livelihoods of their owners and employees.”
In addition to the grants, Sandberg said, Facebook is making its Business Hub open and available at no cost to everyone seeking training and support from the company. Facebook will offer virtual training to small businesses on how to operate during the crisis.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that Facebook would match $20 million in donations to fight the spread of COVID-19. Of that, $10 million will go to the CDC Foundation, an independent non-profit created by Congress to support the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s connection to philanthropic efforts.
Facebook created the COVID-19 Solidarity Fund with the United Nations Foundation and World Health Organization to prevent and detect the virus. As of Tuesday afternoon, $3.8 million had been raised of the $10 million goal.