Above: Graff, a 60-year-old family business whose high-end jewelry collections are designed and manufactured in its London atelier and with almost 60 stores worldwide (including in San Francisco), is now offering in-home or virtual appointments as needed by clients. Of note is the new flower brooch. Set with pink and white diamonds totaling 63 carats, the intricate piece was finished shortly before shelter in place went into effect—after some 240 hours of master craftsmanship.
Much of our coverage in this issue and in our now weekly Gentry Strong newsletters has focused on local efforts and the true hometown heroes who are lending helping hands during these unprecedented times. A global pandemic requires a coordinated response from near and far, and on April 9, the UK-based Graff Foundation, which supports philanthropic activities the world over, jumped into the global response—in a big way.
The foundation donated $1 million to the COVID-19 Solidarity Fund, as part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) efforts to detect the virus and respond to what is now a global pandemic. The Fund has been working to track and better understand the spread of the virus, mobilize resources, ensure appropriate patient care, provide essential supplies for frontline workers, and aid the development of vaccines, tests, and treatments.
“COVID-19 is a textbook example of a global problem that requires global cooperation,” says Elizabeth Cousens, president and CEO of the UN Foundation, which along with the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation are the two supporting arms of the Fund. “I thank Graff for their commitment to the COVID-19 Solidarity Fund—it could not be more clear that we need to work together across sectors to fight this pandemic.”
Many of the Fund’s financial resources are being directed to the countries most at-risk, which has been an evolving list of need as COVID-19 has spread around the world. As of April, the Fund was able to provide PPE to 75 countries, 1.8 million diagnostic kits to 126 countries, accurate and up-to-date public health information to millions worldwide, and support drug trials in an efforts to save the lives of those people who, for still largely unknown reasons, are hit particularly hard by the virus.
Graff Foundation trustee Francois Graff speaks on behalf of the Graff family when saying, “As an international business, it has been terrible to witness the speed with which the virus has spread, and the pain and uncertainly it is causing throughout the world. We are proud to contribute to [the Fund’s] life-saving work and support the medical community and key workers who are heroically devoting their lives to caring for others during this global crisis.”