The Weeknd on Monday announced that he has made a $1 million donation to coronavirus relief, giving $500,000 each to MusiCares and to the front-line hospital workers of Scarborough Health Network, the hospital network in the Ontario city where he was raised. He also brought back the line of facemasks themed for his XO company, with all of the proceeds from sales of The Weeknd’s XO face masks will be donated to COVID-19 relief, with the artist matching every dollar raised. According to the announcement, the donation is a leading gift to the health network’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which now totals more than $2.7 million.
“I was raised in Scarborough and felt it was important to give back to the community that raised me during the hard times of this pandemic,” said The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye.
The donation follows the artist’s $500,000 donation early this month, which was split between Black Lives Matter Global Network and the Colin Kaepernick Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defense Initiative, and $100,000 to National Bail Out.
The Weeknd’s efforts to raise awareness and support for many charities, including SHN Foundation, were praised by the organization’s president/CEO Elizabeth Buller.
“Our vibrant and diverse community represents the best of Canada, and we are fortunate to have ambassadors like The Weeknd in our corner,” Buller said. “This gift will help our community hospitals continue to deliver exceptional care for the people of Scarborough in the wake of COVID-19, and demonstrates to our courageous staff and physicians that their critical work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.”
SHN’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund was established to support frontline staff and doctors by addressing urgent and changing equipment needs. This includes equipment such as ventilators, ICU beds, vital signs and ECG monitors, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), health and wellness supports for frontline workers, and other urgent needs. More than 3,500 community donors have contributed to the Fund to date.
“Like The Weeknd, many of my fellow frontline workers either come from Scarborough or call this community home. It is amazing to see one of our own on the world stage, giving back during our community’s time of need; generous support like this inspires us to keep going,” said Dr. Elaine Yeung, Corporate Chief and Medical Director, Medicine. “This gift represents Scarborough’s incredible spirit and collective passion for shaping a brighter, healthier future.”
“Throughout the pandemic, SHN Foundation has worked to inspire the generosity that will support our courageous frontline staff in their work,” said Alicia Vandermeer, President and CEO, SHN Foundation. “Thanks to The Weeknd’s phenomenal support for our hospitals, and that of thousands of donors over the past several months, we are ensuring that our health care teams have everything they need to safely treat all of our patients.”