Welcome back to another edition of Heroes of the Quarantine. Here’s how some admirable folks are using creativity and innovation to help fight the spread of the virus, or at least make our collective isolation a little more enjoyable.
For the kids
Figuring out what to do with housebound kids has been a major challenge. Kids aren’t just missing out on math and English while school’s out—they’re missing development in creative areas like music and art, too. Luckily, some leading authors and illustrators are stepping up to fill the void.
Rob Biddulph, a London-based illustrator, is conducting free, twice-weekly drawing lessons on Twitter. His whole collection of drawing tutorials can be found using the hashtag #DrawWithRob. Some past tutorial subjects include a “sausage dog” and a cartoon dinosaur—and you definitely don’t have to be a professional illustrator to follow along.
Similarly, Knuffle Bunny author Mo Willems is hosting a daily livestream doodling session at lunchtime each day. He’s encouraging learners of all ages to join the livestream to write and draw with him every day at 1pm EST.
And… Amazon is offering its children’s and family programming on Prime Video for free, no Prime subscription required. That’ll keep the little ones occupied.
Same same, but different
Basically every marketing conference has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and that means big missed opportunities (and a ton of lost revenue) for public speakers. But there’s a way for marketing thought leaders (and other speakers) to still deliver a compelling experience virtually, and Jay Acunzo found it.
His deep dive into virtual events, and how speakers can customize their presentations to deliver a compelling experience without the physical connection. Some key takeaways: pre-record your speech so you can add production value (but don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be), and don’t hide your face behind a barrage of slides like it’s a webinar.
Spruce up your Zoom room
Are your morning stand-up Zoom meetings starting to feel a little repetitive? If you want to breathe some life into your virtual meetups without derailing the team, try adding a new virtual background to your video feed. The folks at Meow Wolf, an experiential arts and entertainment group from New Mexico, have created some fun ones to try out. The group’s House of Eternal Return, an interactive experience in Santa Fe that features over 70 explorable rooms with hands-on art, makes for a good setting the next time the team wants to chat about deliverables.
People helping people
Using Google Forms, Docs, and Spreadsheets, countless communities across the globe are springing into action to help their neighbors. Healthy volunteers are offering services for at-risk individuals like grocery pickups, prescription refills, and more. This list compiles links for mutual aid lists around the globe. If you’re in New York City, for example, there are four local forms.
We’ve seen the coronavirus lay waste to a number of hospitality businesses, which are now forced to lay off many (if not all) of their workers. Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, for example, laid off 2,000 employees, or 80% of its workforce. Some small business owners, however, are going above and beyond to take care of their staff, even if that business is a single-location pizza shop on the Jersey Shore. In one of many inspiring local stories, the owners of Federico’s in Belmar, NJ took out a $50K credit line so that they could retain and pay all of their employees in full.
The response from the community? Federico’s is getting so many orders that they’re selling out each night. And to pay the love forward, Federico’s has set up accounts to receive donations so that the shop can provide food to healthcare workers and first responders.
Celebrity and corporate goodwill
In this time of crisis, some celebrities stepped up… and some participated in Gal Godot’s “Imagine” video. Musicians like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Justin Bieber, acting-couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, and many others are donating money to support those affected by the pandemic. This week In the sports world, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid committed hundreds of thousands of dollars for their local communities.
In the corporate world, German multinational corporation Henkel donated money to the COVID-19 fund, but what’s crucial is that the pharmaceutical giant also donated millions of units of sanitizing products. Meanwhile, midwestern financial company Fifth Third Bank is contributing nearly $9 million from its charitable foundation to local communities hardest hit by the pandemic.