Silicon Valley executives plot investment blitz to fight coronavirus

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Medical personnel collect a sample from a patient at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic at a Kaiser Permanente facility in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Silicon Valley executives huddled on a conference call on Friday to discuss ways they can use their money and vast resources to help fend off the coronavirus that’s spreading throughout the United States. 

CEOs and executives from Facebook, Apple, the San Francisco 49ers, Twitter, Netflix, Alphabet and Salesforce were invited to take part in the call, which was organized by Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins. Top Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway was also invited.  

The luminaries were invited to hear from San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo; Jen Loving, CEO of Destination: Home, a group that fights homelessness in Santa Clara County; Leslie Baccho, CEO of Second Harvest Silicon Valley; and Nicole Taylor, CEO Silicon Valley Community Foundation. CNBC obtained notes of the discussion. 

These community leaders spoke to the executives on Friday about “what is happening ‘on the ground’ and the impact on providing services,” as it pertains to helping combat the coronavirus, the notes say.  California has at least 330 cases of the coronavirus, which causes the illness known as COVID-19. There are over 3,700 reported cases nationwide with just under 70 recorded deaths in the U.S.  

The call is the latest demonstration that corporate America is escalating its effort in addressing the social, economic and health impacts of the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

While it was unclear whether all of the call’s participants are taking part in the group’s endeavors, Conway told CNBC that he has given six figure checks to multiple efforts, including a big donation to the UCSF’s Coronavirus Response Fund. The university’s research group says on its website that it is directing funding toward expanding testing for the virus, along with ensuring necessary housing for patients and equipment for health care workers.  

“Today, more than ever, the world urgently needs the innovation and expertise of the tech community, doctors, and scientists a to help find a cure and a vaccine for the novel coronovirus,” Conway told CNBC.  “I’m proud to contribute to this critical effort along with other tech leaders  that will one day save millions of lives here in the United States and around the world, and urge everyone who has the financial means to join me and donate.” 

There were just under 60 companies listed as being invited to take part in the call. Representatives from more than 35 called in, according to a person briefed on the matter. Some of those who could not participate have signaled to organizers they are interested in moving ahead with various forms of assistance. 

The call’s notes list all of the things executives are being urged to do to help take on the virus, including aggressive financial investments, volunteerism, research and public advocacy. 

Notes from meeting: 

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