Steph Curry, 400 CEOs And Investors Sign Open Letter Pledging To Take Bold Action In Combatting Coronavirus Spread



Stephen Curry and Guild Education CEO Rachel Romer Carlson sign open letter on coronavirus
Guild Education CEO Rachel Romer Carlson, seen here at her Denver headquarters in December, co-wrote the open letter calling for businesses to take action after a call with investor Ken Chenault. 
More than 400 business CEOs and investors have signed an open letter calling for America’s private sector to take more action on combatting the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The initiative, which has adopted the global motto of #StoptheSpread, first took off on social media on Saturday after Rachel Romer Carlson, co-founder, and CEO of education tech unicorn Guild Education published the letter with her investor Ken Chenault, chairperson of venture capital firm General Catalyst and former CEO of American Express. As of Sunday afternoon, more than 400 business leaders had signed the letter, including the CEOs of DocuSign, PagerDuty, Twilio and Zoom, as well as Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry.
In the letter, the signees call for Americans to take “bold action” to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Signees pledged to immediately change their organizations’ policies to a work-from-home environment wherever possible, do more to support first responders and healthcare workers, ask employees not to host or attend social events, and commit time to support state and local communities. Leaders who signed the letter also pledged to encourage employees, friends, and family to practice social distancing by refraining from hosting or attending events or visiting bars, restaurants and gyms. The letter encouraged employees to instead buy gift cards for local businesses.

In an interview, Carlson said the idea for the letter came from a conversation several days ago between her and Chenault about the role of business in social impact. “In this era, CEOs and business leaders can be even more impactful sometimes than the government in making bold and decisive choices that impact everyone,” Carlson says. “We’re really, really big believers in stakeholder versus shareholder value.”
As of Sunday afternoon, a host of leading venture capitalists had also signed the letter, including Midas List investors Aileen Lee and Kirsten Green, and partners from firms such as Accel, Foundry Group, GGV Capital, Homebrew, ICONIQ Capital, IVP, Insight Partners, Ludlow Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and many more. Curry, the star player for the Golden State Warriors in the National Basketball Association, spoke out about the effort to #StopTheSpread on Sunday on Instagram and Twitter.
The letter had 250 people as of Sunday morning and added more than one hundred names in the hours after. The hope, says Carlson, is for the letter to get more signees than confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the U.S. “We’re setting that as our benchmark, to say, how do we let this movement for good and for bold leadership be more viral than the virus?”
The hope, Carlson says, is that business leaders can take some of the burdens of state governors, local officials and the federal government by “leading from the front” in encouraging the population to follow best practices in the mitigation of the spread of Covid-19, the virus that has spread globally since first reports in January, and which has shut down schools, public events, and cities across the United States and elsewhere in recent days.
The letter is not tech-specific, according to Carlson: any CEO or business leader from any sector is welcome to sign. Its early mix reflects some of the leading businesses in cloud computing and enterprise software because it started spreading in part through an email group of CEOs all sharing a common investor, Bessemer Venture Partners, gaining early signees including Jennifer Tejada of Pager Duty, Jeff Lawson of Twilio, Wade Foster of Zapier and Eric Yuan of Zoom, the videoconferencing tool that made waves on Friday by announcing it would offer its video tools to any affected K-12 school in America and other affected countries for free.

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