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Duke of Westminster, Bill and Melinda Gates increase donations to COVID-19 fight

The biggest chunk of Hugh Grosvenor's donation will go toward supporting National Health Service workers and their families. Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE
The biggest chunk of Hugh Grosvenor's donation will go toward supporting National Health Service workers and their families. Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE

April 15 (UPI) -- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Duke of Westminster Hugh Grosvenor announced increased donations to COVID-19 treatment and relief efforts on Wednesday.

The foundation announced an additional donation of $150 million bringing its total commitment to more than $250 million.

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The funds will be directed toward efforts to strengthen coronavirus response in Africa and South Asia, develop and deliver treatments and vaccines, accelerate detection and containment of the virus and protect vulnerable communities in the United States.

"Even in an emergency like this, the starting point for how to use our resources is where it's always been: our fundamental belief that all lives have equal value. And since we know that epidemics hit the poorest and most vulnerable communities hardest, that's where our funding is chiefly directed.

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Grosvenor will donate $15.7 million toward charities and organizations battling the coronavirus pandemic, the British businessman's foundation announced Wednesday.

The Westminster Foundation said Grosvenor, the richest person in the world under the age of 30, added a $12.55 million donation Wednesday to the $3.14 million he gave in March.

The March donation primarily went to charities focused on feeding vulnerable families and children who would normally receive free meals at school.

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The biggest chunk of the new donation will support National Health Service workers.

"NHS staff and key workers don't work in isolation," Grosvenor said. "They have children and families whose health and wellbeing will also be highly impacted by this crisis. As they keep us safe, I want to help provide as much support to them and their families as we can."

The new infusion of funds will be split among the NHS Charities Together ($6.27 million); national medical research linked to COVID-19 ($3.76 million); and charities providing support to people most vulnerable to the economic impact of the pandemic ($2.5 million).

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Ellie Orton, the chief executive of NHS Charities Together, said the organization is grateful for the support from Grosvenor.

"We know many NHS staff have chosen to keep their families safe by staying apart and focusing their time and energy to care for their patients and save lives," she said.

"Their dedication is not only remarkable but no doubt comes with its own price and if I may speak on their behalf, we say a heartfelt thank you to the Westminster Foundation."

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also announced that they would donate $113,000 to the charity Feeding Britain, using money they made from the BBC broadcast of their wedding.

"The Duke and Duchess were able to speak to The Archbishop recently and were moved to hear all about the work Feeding Britain was doing to support people during COVID-19," a representative for the couple said.

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