Supporting vulnerable populations to fight COVID-19

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Supporting vulnerable populations to fight COVID-19

The crisis has severely affected economies, societies and communities worldwide. And those who are most vulnerable are not necessarily receiving the care they need in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic. Across news outlets and global publications, there is pointed focus on hospitals and intensive care units who are under extreme pressure with many of them are at breaking point. Yet, it must not be forgotten that those suffering from mental or physical handicaps, victims of domestic violence and the homeless are intensely feeling the significant impact of the virus.  We, at Lombard Odier, are determined to help those who may have flown under the radar.


The Covid-19 Relief Initiative

Fondation Lombard Odier, our corporate foundation, has set up the Covid-19 Relief Initiative to support relief efforts worldwide. The initiative will support countries where Lombard Odier has a presence and those nations who have been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Overall, the Covid-19 Relief Initiative has pledged CHF 1 million, of which almost half was dedicated to the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) in collaboration with four other Geneva private banks.

It must not be forgotten that those suffering from mental or physical handicaps, victims of domestic violence and the homeless are intensely feeling the significant impact of the virus.

Our Senior Managing Partner, Patrick Odier explained: “Lombard Odier is proud to launch the Covid-19 Relief Initiative as a complement to our donation to the HUG. Since its founding 224 years ago, the bank has drawn its strength from its engagements in the communities it inhabits, both in Switzerland and elsewhere. We are determined to return the favour and support those same communities in this time of global crisis.”

Nations in need

Although China began as the epicentre of the virus, its rapid contagion rate across Europe has brought countries such as Italy, France and Spain to their knees. In light of this, we offered emergency responses in coordination with our Milan office including a donation to the Fondo Milano Aiuta. This fund was created within the Fondazione di Comunità Milano – Città, Sud Ovest, Sud Est, Martesana to support the elderly and the homeless in Milan. Activities include home deliveries and medical and psychological support. The fund plans to keep evolving to respond to changing needs over time.

In Madrid, we donated to the Covid-19 response of Fundación “la Caixa”, one of the largest and most reputable Spanish foundations. The foundation has been a long-time partner of Lombard Odier and is involved in the Programme for Humanitarian Impact Investment (PHII). The foundation supports professionals in the health sector by enabling them to speak to psychologists to overcome the intense emotional pressure they are experiencing during these troubling times. The psychology team is equipped to handle some 1,000 calls a day. The foundation also supports food banks in Spain to buy the food and products they need to support vulnerable populations. Our donation will mainly help at a minimum 100 families living below the official poverty line in Madrid, and 100 families in Barcelona.

“Since its founding 224 years ago, the bank has drawn its strength from its engagements in the communities it inhabits, both in Switzerland and elsewhere. We are determined to return the favour and support those same communities in this time of global crisis”, shared Patrick Odier.

The Grand Est region in France was the first part of France to be truly affected by the coronavirus, and though the situation in France is stabilising, it remains serious. With our donation to Fondation de France’s coronavirus pandemic emergency response, we are supporting various projects, such as the setup of a medical centre for homeless people with Covid-19, deliveries of food and other aid to women who have suffered domestic abuse, and support to unaccompanied minors during the ongoing confinement.

Impact at a local level has paved the way for us to help make a real impact. In Luxembourg, we donated to the collaboration between Fondation de Luxembourg and Stëmm vun der Strooss, which helps reintegrate people into society by giving them work. They collect and cook food that supermarkets would otherwise throw away and then deliver these meals to the needy. The organisation’s employees include the homeless, the unemployed, asylum-seekers, and other marginalised groups. The ongoing Covid-19 crisis has led to a strong increase in the demand for Stëmm vun der Strooss’s services, and our donation will help them deliver by purchasing a new refrigerated truck to transport food.

The Felix Project, in the UK, provides food to charitable organisations and schools, which in turn distribute directly to persons in need. Due to COVID-19, demand for their services has skyrocketed. In February, they were delivering enough food each day for just over 20,000 meals. Today, they provide for 100,000 meals daily and this measure is rising rapidly. Our donation to the Felix Project’s emergency appeal helps them prepare for the long haul and get food to the people who need it most. 

We are using our existing relationships with local charities to focus on rapid interventions that will produce benefits for vulnerable populations right away.

Conscious collaboration

Our Global Head of Philanthropy, Dr Maximilian Martin states: “At the current stage of the coronavirus pandemic, demonstrated need often outstrips capacity to give, and speed matters.”

In times such as these, working together to tackle the damaging effects of the virus is of the upmost importance. The coronavirus concerns us all. This is why we are using our existing relationships with local charities to focus on rapid interventions that will produce benefits for vulnerable populations right away.

Important information

This document is issued by Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd or an entity of the Group (hereinafter “Lombard Odier”). It is not intended for distribution, publication, or use in any jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, or use would be unlawful, nor is it aimed at any person or entity to whom it would be unlawful to address such a document. This document was not prepared by the Financial Research Department of Lombard Odier.

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