SAP Establishes €3 Million COVID-19 Emergency Fund, Increases Support of Social Sector Partners Globally

Large or small, each contribution matters in the fight against COVID-19.

Fearless doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals are taking care of those who have fallen ill while many parents have taken on the dual role of parent-teacher. Each of us is sheltering in place to protect loved ones and strangers alike.

The reality is that systems need support just like individuals do. Communities are struggling to provide for citizens in need. The workforce has changed practically overnight. Businesses long for continuity and a healthy supply chain. With so many challenges in our surroundings, there is a world of opportunity that belongs to all of us.

This is no time for business as usual. The most important thing we can all do — besides washing our hands — is play to our strengths. SAP’s strength lies in its people, products, and partnerships that include more than 440,000 businesses located in 180 countries across the world.

We Are All in This Together

On March 20, more than 43,000 German citizens, including SAP product owner Kevin Drieschner, answered a call to help through “Wir vs. Virus, der Hackathon der Bundesregierung” (We vs. Virus, the hackathon of the German government).

“I wanted to use my IT skills to help and I wasn’t alone,” Drieschner shared. “People from different industries and backgrounds came together on this challenge because we wanted to contribute; in our case, supporting the caregivers and hospital administrators during this crisis.”

Currently, there is no uniform system for recording and displaying bed capacity across Germany. Throughout the weekend, Drieschner worked virtually alongside 30 people prototyping ideas, which resulted in TrackYourBed, a responsive, Web-based solution that indicates hospital bed availability in real time. “Everyone is highly motivated to find solutions to COVID-19, but I’ve never experienced anything like this before.”

SAP is currently exploring further investment in this venture, as well as many other ideas that have emerged through COVID-19 sprint in the SAP One Billion Lives initiative, the company’s social intrapreneurship program.

Now more than ever, employees are looking to use their skills to contribute what they can. SAP has activated a COVID-19 response plan to help. The SAP Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team is providing infrastructure and accelerating new ways to engage through virtual volunteering and pro-bono consulting, offering more than 50 projects to date. For example, some volunteer leaders are facilitating webinars for nonprofits on remote work while others are offering mentorship and coaching to support business continuity for social enterprises.

Contributing €3M to COVID-19 Emergency Fund and Increasing Social Sector Support

SAP has also established a €3 million COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support the urgent needs of the World Health Organization (WHO), the CDC Foundation, and smaller nonprofits and social enterprises that work on the front lines serving local communities in crisis.

“SAP stands with the WHO and supports its leadership in coordinating the global effort to mobilize the fight against COVID-19,” said Alexandra van der Ploeg, head of SAP CSR. “Specifically, SAP is donating €1 million to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the WHO hosted by Swiss Philanthropy Foundation and the United Nations Foundation for virus prevention and detection.”

SAP CSR partners with more than 1,200 nonprofits and social enterprises that are mostly small to midsize organizations. Collectively, they serve more than 4.5 million youth across 105 countries, primarily in the areas of quality education, decent work, and youth entrepreneurship.

“With 1 billion children currently out of school due to COVID-19, their services are needed now more than ever. Yet the global issues they are solving are complicated further because of the pandemic,” van der Ploeg shared. “SAP is making resources and expertise available to help our nonprofit and social enterprise partners effectively shift to remote operations. We want to help ensure they can maintain their much-needed services to their communities and not lay off staff.”

One of SAP’s strategic partnerships includes We Are Family Foundation’s Three Dot Dash global teen leader initiative, co-founded by legendary musician/producer Nile Rodgers.

“The world needs leadership, and new ideas and thinking during this unprecedented moment in time, and our global youth are at the forefront of new solutions,” Rodgers said. “We are Family Foundation is grateful for our strong partnership with SAP, which will allow us to innovate and think differently together about how we scale our reach and expand support of young leaders across the globe.”

For more than 10 years, We Are Family Foundation has welcomed global teen leaders from more than 52 countries across six continents. SAP is proud to support them and their life-changing solutions reaching millions globally.

While financial donations are an immediate way to give back, the power of sustainable community support lies within SAP’s focus for year-round skilled volunteering. With thousands of volunteers like Kevin Drieschner, SAP employees transfer their expertise and professional services to organizations in need. For example, a key priority for UNICEF right now is to ensure that accurate and clear messaging on COVID-19 is delivered to all communities. SAP is sourcing volunteers to support their communications efforts, using social media to amplify UNICEF’s COVID-19 response. Skilled volunteers create a multiplier effect for social sector partners, helping them to maintain scale and accelerate social impact long after the pandemic.

Technology You Can Count On

Richard Primm, a vice president from SAP North America, wants everyone to know that SAP can be a resource for them during this time: “Our customers can count on SAP’s dedicated employees to find creative ways through our technology to help them solve their biggest challenges.”

In normal circumstances, corporate procurement would not be particularly newsworthy. However, last week Primm helped a client, Ram Tool, secure 500 hospital beds from Joerns Healthcare in just 30 minutes using SAP Ariba Discovery, which SAP has opened access to so any buyer can post their immediate sourcing needs and any supplier can respond to show they can deliver. As Business Insider noted, the story “shows the power of digital transformations in helping companies respond to the coronavirus pandemic.”

If one person like Primm can make an impact in minutes by simply connecting organizations through platform technology, imagine the power of an ecosystem at work. Through SAP’s global purpose network, customers, partners, academia, and nonprofits across 180 countries can collaborate with SAP with shared purpose to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. The possibilities are limitless.

An additional publicly available free technology offering is Remote Work Pulse. This offering from Qualtrics helps organizations assess preparedness for a remote workforce, as well as whether employees have what they need to succeed in this new environment.

You might now be asking yourself, “How can I help?” There are a few things we have learned on our journey to deliver meaningful impact in the fight against COVID-19: First, when we embrace the power of our networks and collaborate, even when there is physical distance between us, solutions appear; and second, the work is ongoing. There is no need to wait for the light at the end of the tunnel to take action. After all, we do not know how long the tunnel will be. There is light to be found right now.

SAP’s response plan, including the COVID-19 Emergency Fund, is part of a global response by the company highlighted in an open letter from SAP Co-CEOs Christian Klein and Jennifer Morgan: Together We Will Persevere and shared by Morgan on CNBC’s Mad Money” with Jim Cramer.


Jennifer Beason is head of CSR Marketing and Communications at SAP.
John Baxter is vice president of Purpose and Brand Experience Marketing at SAP.