This article was written in partnership with GLG.
The COVID-19 crisis is the most wide-scale disruption in modern history. In the U.S. alone, it has resulted in 242,000 deaths and 10.5 million infections at time of publication. But Americans everywhere are rising to meet this moment. Charitable giving was up 7.5% in the first half of the year, and according to a report from the Senate’s Joint Economic Committee, the percentage of Americans volunteering their time continued to hold strong throughout 2020.
Many businesses are also stepping up — and GLG, the global knowledge marketplace, is at the forefront of these efforts. In March, CEO Paul Todd wrote an open letter to GLG’s vast network of experts, clients — and to GLG’s employees as well — asking if they could recommend “non-profits, foundations and organizations on the frontlines of the relief effort,” and offering access to the company’s client service teams and global network of experts— all pro bono.
“GLG has hundreds of thousands of experts who have decades of experience in highly relevant areas of expertise — including healthcare, logistics, supply chain management, and transportation,” Todd wrote. “We deeply believe that we have an obligation to use our capabilities to get that knowledge to the people who urgently need it to fight this pandemic.”
The response was overwhelming. As of December, GLG’s COVID-19 relief program has supported more than 130 organizations whose frontline efforts impact the lives of over 100 million people in over 40 countries. GLG and its team members have offered their expert support to organizations in fields ranging from supply chain management and contact tracing app development to outdoor learning and food box delivery— all without charge.
Many of these efforts have directly helped those most affected by the pandemic. One organization supported by GLG provided relief to a marginalized community that was severely impacted by the pandemic: People in prisons. According to a report from the Marshall Project, there have been at least 227,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in prisons — a number that corresponds to almost 10% of the nation’s overall prison population.
“State and federal prisons have been hit incredibly hard by COVID-19,” said Morgan Franklin, a GLG Client Solutions team leader. “And because we know that most prisons are disproportionately filled with Black and brown people, these vulnerable populations are taking the greatest hit due to the virus and racial inequity.”
Franklin volunteered to join GLG’s pro bono COVID-19 response effort to support Recidiviz, a non-profit that builds open-source data tools to help criminal justice decision makers identify opportunities to safely reduce incarceration and monitor the impact of their efforts in real time (and which is one of GLG’s 2020 Social Impact Fellows). “To reduce prison populations and slow the spread of coronavirus, several state prisons partnered with the Recidiviz team and used their data infrastructure and platform to determine who might be a good candidate or eligible for early release,” Franklin explained. “GLG has been collaborating with Recidiviz so they can learn more about how to access and use public prison data, such that other corrections facilities can continue to successfully release and care for their population during this pandemic.”
“[GLG’s pro bono client service opportunities] are just one of a few examples of how we actively live out our commitment to social impact,” Franklin said.
That commitment also led GLG to support the GrowHaus, a non-profit focused on food scarcity operating during a time of exacerbated hunger.
“Amidst the pandemic, our weekly free grocery program shifted from in-person to home delivery and grew from about 50 participants to 550 participants,” said Emily Hoel, Director of Operations for the GrowHaus. “We saw 400% growth in one week. We could never have anticipated the enormous growth that the program would see in such a short time. We quickly needed to stabilize the program, restructure the operations, expand our purchasing processes, and update the staffing model in order to capture and maintain this growth.”
GLG connected GrowHaus with experts in the field of food retail to talk through key elements of their operations, financial modelling, and staffing. “We were able to talk to folks doing exactly what we are doing. They understood our pain points and had great advice on how to structure and improve our program,” Hoel said. For example, “speaking with the CEO and Founder of a large food relief nonprofit gave me incredible insights about how to structure our assembly line and technical operations.”
But GLG’s support gave Hoel more than insights — it gave her peace of mind.
“The expert understood the struggles we were facing and shared that they had been through many of the same challenges — and were able to overcome them!” Hoel said. “Their guidance came at the perfect time and was invaluable to our success.”
These projects are meaningful for GLG’s experts too. For example, entrepreneur and author Amy Neumann says she got involved with GLG’s COVID-19 relief initiative because helping people is one of her biggest joys.
“I was doing some pro bono social impact consulting locally, and jumped at the chance to help GLG — an organization I was already working with and impressed by — as soon as I learned about their social impact work,” said Neumann, author of “Simple Acts to Change the World.”
Through GLG’s initiative, Neumann offered a range of insights to organizations leading COVID-19 responses, from best practices on messaging and communications to strategic planning for rapid growth. She shared that her participation left her feeling “energized, excited and hopeful.”
“Hopefully, by eliminating the learning curve and trial-and-error elements many organizations normally go through during times of great change, I could jumpstart impact and help these organizations avoid a situation where they have their staff needing to figure out from scratch where to start and what to do next,” said Neumann. “Through those conversations, I think everyone involved felt more positive and ready to move forward and create positive change.”
In his most recent update, GLG’s leader echoed Neumann’s optimism but highlighted that the work is yet to be completed.
“GLG is proud to play a part in driving progress forward – but we’re not satisfied,” wrote Todd. “We want to keep finding new ways to help, with your partnership. Our inbox is always open, so please reach out.”
To learn more about GLG’s COVID-19 relief program, visit their site.