Lego Pledges $50M to Coronavirus-Affected Family Charities
In these trying times, it always feels good to see that others also care about how well we are making it through this epidemic. The same, of course, is true for large corporations as well. Maybe even more so, because if large corporations put their weight behind something, they can achieve truly significant change in a very short amount of time.
A good example of that is what just happened with Lego, because this just came in: Lego pledges $50M to coronavirus-affected family charities. On top of that, Lego has announced that they also want to tackle learning shortages that are going to be expected among 1.5 billion children in school age, that are currently unable to attend school.
Because the thing is, if millions of Americans are self-isolating at home right now, then this obviously also affects the children. And while a week in the lives of many grown-ups seems as if it is flying by, for children, this is still different. Not only does a week seem much longer when you are a child, missing out on a whole week of learning can have significant negative multiplier effects as they grow older. Because once a child is behind, it can be very difficult to catch back up again.
Now, some families are going to be able to provide their children with guidance, home-schooling and maybe even online courses or tutoring. But this is unlikely true for most children who are missing school because of COVID-19 right now. With so many people in poverty also in the United States, supplies of food and medicine can already be a massive challenge, let alone educating your child. And this is exactly where the Lego Group and Lego Foundation have decided to try and make a difference.
The $50 million donation that Lego is planning to make is supposed to go to direct partners of the company. One of these partners is Education Cannot Wait, a nonprofit that specializes in crisis education. Other charities are less disaster-focused but still aim to improve how kids learn, for example by “learning through play”. But indirect relief that focusses on providing family essentials is most likely going to have positive effects on how much children can learn during the epidemic, too, as it provides some peace of mind for already stressed-out parents.
Lego put out a press release about their intentions, where they express their determination to address the needs of children affected by the crisis through essential supplies. In the release, the CEO of The Lego Foundation John Goodwin writes that: “We cannot let COVID-19 setback a generation of children. Research shows that while learning through play is vital for children’s psychological, emotional and cognitive health and development, it ALSO hones the resilience they need to overcome adversity and build their futures. We must support all children, including the most vulnerable children in society, to ensure they continue to have access to education and develop skills critical for them to thrive in a constantly changing world”, adding “We are honored to be able to collaborate and support Education Cannot Wait and our other partners who are working extremely hard in unforgiving circumstances to bring education, hope and a future to the most vulnerable children.”
On top of that, the Lego Group, together with the Lego Foundation, are working on educational initiatives to address the learning shortages that are to be expected for 1.5 billion school-aged children who are unable to attend school right now. On the team are the two big players together with their own designers, but also leaders from the STEM-field and other creatives, who want to collaborate on this project. For now, the focus of these efforts seems to be to support parents in teaching their children important skills that tend to be the basis for further learning out there, such as critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving.
In their statement, the Lego Group emphasized how “We’ve dug through our archives and come up with new ways to provide fun, play-based learning ideas to children and parents. Our hope is to alleviate some of the strain and stress for families while keeping children engaged and curious.”
If you are curious about what Lego is coming up with, check out Lego’s “Let’s Build Together” online campaign, where most of their things are being published in a ready-to-use format. Only time will tell how effective the initiative that led Lego to pledge $50M to coronavirus-affected family charities will actually be. But it is good to see that there are attempts at improving everyone’s situation out there. And it is not as if this is not going to benefit Lego at all. Obvious PR-benefits aside, by getting direct access to millions of children out there, Lego has the chance of instilling in all of them a love for using Lego even after the pandemic ends.