The COVID-19 pandemic, when it struck earlier this year, ushered in an immediate period of adjustment for all of us. And just as the challenges posed by COVID-19 in 2020 have been truly unprecedented, Verisign’s mission – enabling the world to connect online with reliability and confidence, anytime, anywhere – has never been more relevant. We are grateful for the continued dedication of our workforce, which enables us to provide the building blocks people need for remote working and learning, and simply for keeping in contact with each other.
At Verisign we took early action to adopt a COVID-19 work posture to protect our people, their families, and our operations. This involved the majority of our employees working from home, and implementing new cleaning and health safety protocols to protect those employees and contractors for whom on-site presence was essential to maintain key functions.
Our steps to address the pandemic did not stop there. On March 25 we announced a series of measures to help the communities where we live and work, and the broader DNS community in which we operate. This included, under our Verisign Cares program, making contributions to organizations supporting key workers, first responders and medical personnel, and doubling the company’s matching program for employee giving so that employee donations to support the COVID-19 response could have a greater impact.
Today, while vaccines may offer signs of long term hope, the pandemic has plunged many families into economic hardship and has had a dramatic effect on food insecurity in the U.S., with an estimated 50 million people affected. With this hardship in mind, we have this week made contributions totaling $275,000 to food banks in the areas where we have our most substantial footprint: the Washington DC-Maryland-Virginia region; Delaware; and the canton of Fribourg, in Switzerland. This will help local families put food on their tables during what will be a difficult winter for many.
The pandemic has also had a disproportionate, and potentially permanent, impact on certain sectors of the economy. So today Verisign is embarking on a partnership with Virginia Ready, which helps people affected by COVID-19 access training and certification for in-demand jobs in sectors such as technology. We are making an initial contribution of $250,000 to Virginia Ready, and will look to establish further partnerships of this kind across the country in 2021.