We also need to see the same sense of duty within private industry that rallied our nation at other critical junctures in its history — when companies like Kaiser and General Electric ran 24-hour manufacturing days to produce ships and engines to support war efforts, or how, in the aftermath of Sept. 11, businesses of all sizes donated goods and services to help in the recovery effort. As business leaders — and, more important, as citizens — we have an obligation to act and support our communities, our customers and the workers on the front lines of this pandemic.
The two of us have spent the last several days rallying American business leaders to this new, urgent sense of duty. We have heard especially inspiring stories about the business communities in San Francisco and New York joining to fund and support the response effort. But if our testing and production efforts are state and locally coordinated, the hospitals in Omaha will run out of supplies soonest and the small businesses in New Orleans will shut down the fastest.
That means we need a national commitment with national resources.
We’ve already seen an example of this concerted effort in action. In recent days more than 1,500 chief executives around the country signed our pledge to #stopthespread and #leadboldly — a commitment that, over the weekend, led thousands of restaurants, bars, resorts and stores to shut their doors, either in compliance with local government orders or, frequently, on their own accord.
More needs to be done. Starting Wednesday we are asking our 1,500 signatories to make a significant financial commitment to support Covid-19 support and recovery. While there are many priorities for the American business community, we have focused our efforts on getting enough ventilators, respirators and other supplies for our hospitals.
Our country has several companies ready to make high-quality ventilators and other needed supplies at scale, but they need an infusion of capital and coordination, immediately, to get started. We already have seed commitments from several companies, including Twilio, Guild, Bessemer Ventures and Workday. We’re now asking our 1,500 signatories to follow suit.