As the COVID-19 pandemic continues unabated, and we continue to struggle between the safety of the vulnerable against the selfishness of the ignorant, one artist is using his success to support those on the frontlines of this battle.
Multi-platinum selling singer, songwriter and record producer Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, has donated $500,000 CAD to Scarborough Health Network (SHN) in support of COVID-19 relief efforts through sales of his popular line of XO face masks. The generous donation has now raised the health network’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund to over $2.7 million.
Since the outset of the pandemic and through the rise of the ongoing racial equality and social justice movement, the Weeknd has been raising awareness and support for many causes, including the Black Lives Matter Global Network, The National Bailout, and now the SHN Foundation. All of the proceeds from sales of The Weeknd’s XO face masks will be donated to COVID-19 relief, with the artist matching every dollar raised.
The Grammy Award-winning artist is a Toronto native who once called Scarborough home, so this donation was a particularly poignant one. “I was raised in Scarborough and felt it was important to give back to the community that raised me during the hard times of this pandemic,” said Tesfaye.
“Our vibrant and diverse community represents the best of Canada, and we are fortunate to have ambassadors like The Weeknd in our corner,” said Elizabeth Buller, President and CEO, SHN. “This gift will help our community hospitals continue to deliver exceptional care for the people of Scarborough in the wake of COVID-19, and demonstrates to our courageous staff and physicians that their critical work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.”
SHN’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund was established to support frontline staff and doctors by addressing urgent and changing equipment needs. This includes equipment such as ventilators, ICU beds, vital signs and ECG monitors, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), health and wellness supports for frontline workers, and other urgent needs. More than 3,500 community donors have contributed to the Fund to date.
“Like The Weeknd, many of my fellow frontline workers either come from Scarborough or call this community home. It is amazing to see one of our own on the world stage, giving back during our community’s time of need; generous support like this inspires us to keep going,” said Dr. Elaine Yeung, Corporate Chief and Medical Director, Medicine. “This gift represents Scarborough’s incredible spirit and collective passion for shaping a brighter, healthier future.”
“Throughout the pandemic, SHN Foundation has worked to inspire the generosity that will support our courageous frontline staff in their work,” said Alicia Vandermeer, President and CEO, SHN Foundation. “Thanks to The Weeknd’s phenomenal support for our hospitals, and that of thousands of donors over the past several months, we are ensuring that our health care teams have everything they need to safely treat all of our patients.”
For more information about how to support SHN through COVID-19, visit SHNFoundation.ca. To learn more about and purchase The Weeknd’s XO face masks, visit shopca.theweeknd.com.