Viacom Inc. and the Walt Disney Co. have donated a total of $3 million between them to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy.
The superstorm barreled up the east coast Monday into Tuesday, causing widespread power outages, flooding and at least 88 U.S. deaths. On Thursday morning, much of New Jersey remained without power, while a large chuck of the New York City skyline was eerily dark, the result of a Con Ed substation exploding in lower Manhattan.
Today, Disney announced a $2 million commitment to relief, with $1 million going to the American Red Cross and the other half being allocated to rebuilding efforts. The company will also match any contributions from its employees. Moreover, Disney will run public service announcements across its various platforms, including ABC, ABC.com, ABCNews.com, Radio Disney, and ESPN’s family of networks.
“It’s hard to fathom the devastation from this storm,” Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, said in a statement. “Thousands of people in the hurricane’s path lost everything and face the daunting challenge of putting their lives and communities back together. We hope this helps provide immediate aid needed to get through this disaster and begin the road to recovery.”
Meanwhile, Viacom has pledged $500,000 to the Mayor’s Fund for NYC and another $500,000 to rebuilding and relief efforts across Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Like Disney, the company will match up to $1 million in employee donations as well. Furthermore, Viacom unveiled plans to offer direct assistance to any of its employees that had been affected by the storm.
“As we reach out a helping hand to our neighbors in the communities where we live and work, we also want to take care of our own employees,” Viacom president Philippe Dauman said in a statement. “Like millions of people in the devastating path of Sandy, some of Viacom’s employees have experienced enormous hardships including severe damage or loss of homes and other property. The Viacommunity Employee Relief Program will offer logistical assistance as well as aid to employees dealing with critical issues related to the storm.”
Viacom and Disney are only the latest media giants to announce contributions to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. News Corp. previously pledged $1 million on Wednesday. A Hurricane Sandy benefit concert, featuring Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Joel, will be held tomorrow night on NBC Universal’s various networks.