In times like these, anxiety runs rampant. The world seems to be spiraling out of control, and as college students getting ready to embark on The Real World, the reality is more terrifying than we could have ever imagined.

You don’t have to look far to find examples of tragedy and selfishness. It’s harder to tune out the scary unknown of the future now more than ever before. 

But there is one thing Gen Z knows how to do (and do it well): spend money. According to Forbes, “Gen Z is already on track to become the largest generation of consumers by the year 2020, and they account for $29 to $143 billion in direct spending.” 

Not only do we know how to spend money, but we also know how to rationalize our purchases. Gen Z is more likely to support brands that have a social, political, and/or ethical initiative woven within the brand story.  Furthermore, Gen Z is also more likely to call out brands for unethical practices, such as paying employees unlivable wages or irresponsibly contributing to climate change. In today’s global crisis, the economy has been struck hard, but consumers remain all the more critical of brand actions (sometimes, even more critical).

 

Gen Z has an acute B.S. radar that easily detects inauthentic business moves seeking to capitalize on the country’s most vulnerable. Once you’re “canceled,” it’s hard to make a comeback. 

That’s why it is important, now more than ever, to highlight the brands that are showing up for struggling communities. From the immunocompromised to small business owners to the healthcare workers at the frontlines of this nightmare, companies are giving back in any way they can. 

Here is a list of 10 companies who are giving back to the communities who need it most:

Facebook

The social media powerhouse is a $1000 bonus to all 45,000 of its employees a $1000 cash bonus during this stressful time. Externally, the company is also donating $100 million in grants to support small businesses affected by the crisis. According to The Verge, founder Mark Zuckerberg  is “also funding an increase in coronavirus testing in the Bay Area through his philanthropic groups.”

IPSY 

This week, the beauty subscription service posted on Instagram that they were giving away 50,000 self-care packages to healthcare workers in appreciation for all of their hard work. Healthcare workers were encouraged to fill out a form with mailing address details to receive the pampering products they deserve.

Missguided

Fashion giant Missguided posted a call for small businesses to contact them via Instagram for a chance to be reposted on Missguided’s Instagram story. The retailer has over 6.5 million followers, granting global exposure to small shops that are in critical danger of going out of business. Check out their story to find some new businesses to support.

 

JUV Consulting

The Gen Z strategic comms agency announced this week that they were giving away 10 microgrants (worth $500) to financially-struggling young people who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The application is open until April 15.

 

Reformation

The environmentally-conscious fashion retailer partnered with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a new initiative called L.A. Protects. Reformation’s role will be to produce 5 million protective face masks for non-medical essential workers, such as grocery store clerks and delivery drivers, who are in desperate need of protection.

 

JanSport

The famous backpack company announced last week that they are donating 10,000 backpacks to World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit centered on food relief. Each backpack will be filled with food to be distributed to students in Los Angeles and Oakland, California to combat food insecurity at home.

 

WeWoreWhat

Danielle Bernstein, founder & designer of WeWoreWhat, announced this week that proceeds from the newly launched Spring ‘20 Overalls & Jumpsuit Collection will go toward donating 15,000 masks to healthcare workers who need them most. As an added bonus, all of the clothing material is sustainably sourced and 100% biodegradable.  

 

Rowdy Magazine

The local Gainesville-based lifestyle magazine announced last week its commitment to publishing the anticipated Volume 3. Editor-in-chief Andrea Wilson disclosed that 15% of Vol. 3 proceeds will be donated to One Fair Wage Emergency Fund, a nonprofit for foodservice and tipped workers. 

 

Just Salad NYC

According to EATER, the salad chain is donating “10,000 meals per week to seven Mount Sinai hospitals in [New York City],” the U.S. epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Katy Bellotte Designs

NYC freelance designer Katy Bellotte is reaching out to the Class of 2020 graduates who are unable to celebrate their achievement. She is offering 66% off all customized graduation announcements to send out to family and friends. 

 

For some, giving financial support to brands who use their platform for good is one way to add control back into their lives. For the many students out of jobs (or being severely underpaid given the health risk they are assuming), discretionary income is out of the question. We must be empathetic to each others’ circumstances – not only during quarantine but once things go back to (somewhat) normal. 

Once this is all over, we will look back on what the top global brands did and hold them accountable for what they gave to their workers and other communities in their time of need. It may be hard to think of a world where this pandemic is behind us, but we must always look ahead. 

As always, wishing you safety, good health, and a clear mind.

 

Written by Sandra Salvatierra