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Blackstone Teams With Martial Artist Jet Li for Virus Donation

Amanda Gordon

(Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Group Inc.’s charitable foundation is giving $1 million to expand distribution of supplies and aid to more than 30 communities in China.

The money will go to the One Foundation, founded by martial arts star Jet Li in 2007. It will be used for such items as kits to diagnose coronavirus and ECG monitors for pregnant women.

“This has been an extremely, an exceptionally difficult situation for China,” Blackstone Chief Executive Officer Stephen Schwarzman said in a telephone interview. “Some of the people I know have described the impact as being similar to the Chinese as 9-11 was for Americans. As a firm, we wanted to show some support.”

Schwarzman said the virus “has been enormously disruptive for anyone doing business in China” and that communicating with staff in the region is a priority. Blackstone offices in China reopened on Feb. 10. Employees in mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore are encouraged to work from home, in line with government recommendations.

“The most important thing is to let people know that you’re thinking about them,” Schwarzman said. “The second thing is to explain what the virus is. At the beginning, large groups didn’t have access to that information. It’s easier for us to talk to the heads of pharmaceutical companies, who have much more familiarity.”

One Foundation has worked with local agencies to distribute millions of masks and gloves in 16 cities in Hubei province, the epicenter of the virus. The group has a network of more than 2,000 volunteers and staff conducting disinfection and prevention training across the country, Blackstone said Wednesday in a statement.

Separately, a program Schwarzman created modeled after the Rhodes Scholarships and based at Tsinghua University in Beijing has adjusted to the outbreak. Some students have traveled home or to other locations, while safety protocols have been put in place for those wishing to stay, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Spring term will include online classes, the person said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Pierre Paulden at ppaulden@bloomberg.net, Steven Crabill

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