Over a million people have succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic. Outside of deaths, millions have lost their income, and social distancing is keeping people isolated. Some even fear that social isolation could break communities apart, but for entrepreneur Stephen Odzer, the pandemic also offers an opportunity for togetherness and service.
“When we think of history, we often think of great leaders, like Winston Churchill,” Stephen Odzer says. “However, I’d argue that history has been as shaped by communities as anything else. People who work together can accomplish extraordinary things. Right now, we all have to come together to fight COVID-19.”
One way people and communities can fight COVID-19 is through philanthropy. In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that donations to medical research had surged some $13 billion. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey pledged $1 billion, while the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation put forward $355 million. Since then, more continue to give. Stephen Odzer has also pledged resources and has set up a non-profit specifically to combat COVID-19.
“We all have to do our part. That’s how we get through this,” Stephen Odzer contends. “Right now, I am launching a charitable organization to donate masks and other critical supplies to those in need. It’s not about me, however, it’s about us. Those who are able should step forward and provide what they can. If we all do our part, we will emerge stronger from this tragedy.”
Stephen Odzer Talks About How to Make the Biggest Impact During the Pandemic
A lone individual can offer only a limited number of skills and resources. Even the most talented individuals, whether that’s Bill Gates or Stephen Odzer, can offer only so much. However, a community can gather a lot of resources and exceptional but diverse skills. By pooling resources and leveraging various skills, groups of people can accomplish tremendous things.
“Whenever I approach philanthropy, I ask myself if I can bring something unique to the table. If so, I pursue ideas that allow me to use my skills to serve the community. Throughout my life I’ve done a lot of work in distribution, so right now I am working to get masks and vital supplies to where they need to go,” Stephen Odzer points out.
The COVID-19 pandemic may alter global society. Travel has come to a standstill, millions are putting education on hold, others have had to pause their career. Stephen Odzer has set aside some of his entrepreneurial ambitions, but not his efforts to serve the community.
Many experts now believe that shutdowns and other measures will be necessary until a vaccine is developed and distributed. This likely won’t happen until early 2021 according to some medical professionals. Yet together communities can make conditions more bearable now and in the future.
Stephen Odzer adds, “I’ve seen a lot of talented individuals in tech, in medicine, in mental health, in many other areas step forward to offer their own skills amid this pandemic. It has been both aspiring and humbling. Together, we can beat COVID-19, the members of my own communities have convinced me of that.”