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Coronavirus In Minnesota: 3M Donating $20 Million To Research, Health Care Workers & Disproportionately Impacted Populations

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota-based 3M says it's donating $20 million to support health care workers, COVID-19 research and communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The company announced the multi-million dollar donation Thursday, when global deaths due to the outbreak had climbed over 140,000.

"It's important that 3M holds true to its core values during this pandemic by supporting our communities and improving lives," 3M Chairman and CEO Mike Roman said in a statement. "Throughout this global crisis, we will continue to look for ways to help in the fight against COVID-19."

The company says half of the $20 million will go to Direct Relief's COVID-19 Fund for Community Health. The fund provides community health centers with direct financial support for health care workers. Additionally, $5 million will go toward the United Way, which is working to provide food, shelter and rent assistance to vulnerable populations around the world.

The remaining $5 million will go toward COVID-19 research and development initiatives, with $2 million going to the University of Minnesota.

Earlier this month, 3M was in a dispute with President Donald Trump over its exporting of high-quality face masks to Canada and Latin America when the devices were needed in hospitals across the U.S. The company said that ceasing export to those countries posed "significant humanitarian implications" in the face of the pandemic.

In response, the president invoked the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to prevent 3M from exporting masks. Not long after, the White House and 3M came to an agreement that allowed the company to supply the U.S. with an additional 55.5 million high-quality masks each month while continuing to export abroad.

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