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LEGO donates R2.25 billion in COVID-19 relief

Danish toy company LEGO has announced a rather large donation towards COVID-19 relief aimed at children and communities.

The pledge is for $150 million, which is around R2.25 billion at the time of writing.

This sum won’t go to one place but will instead be split between two organisations:

“US$80 million will enable the Foundation’s many partners working with children to accelerate ongoing COVID-19 recovery. US$70 million will go towards UNICEF to support access to vaccines and health supplies for parents, teachers and caregivers in vulnerable communities around the world,” the announcement reads.

This is far from the first time that LEGO has donated money to relief around the coronavirus. In May this year we reported on a $1 million donation for children in India when the pandemic hit the country especially hard.

In March 2020, $50 million was contributed to COVID-19 efforts with a focus on education.

LEGO has various charitable and sustainability efforts in play. One of them called “Replay” takes donated LEGO bricks and gives them to those who cannot afford it. So far 454 874 pounds of LEGO have been donated through Replay, which is 206 327.376 kilograms.

With all of this in mind it is easy to be cynical when it comes to companies being involved in charities. There’s usually some kind of tax incentive in play but, at the end of the day, most of the time it’s an overall positive endeavour.

It should also be commended that LEGO is using its own money here instead is soliciting donations from customers and then passing those funds off as a donation. Countless companies both in South Africa and abroad take this approach and it’s a real hollow gesture that most people should ignore and rather donate to charities directly to cut out the middleman.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the way children access education, the way their families earn an income to cover their needs, and how safe they feel in their homes, communities and countries. This is a child rights crisis,” LEGO’s announcement adds.

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