The Weeknd gives $500,000 from mask sales, donation to hometown hospitals

The Weeknd attends the LA premiere of "Uncut Gems" at ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles on December 11, 2019. The Weeknd is dedicating $500,000 to hospitals battling COVID-19 in the east-Toronto neighbourhood where he grew up. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Invision, Richard Shotwell

TORONTO - The Weeknd is dedicating $500,000 to hospitals battling COVID-19 in the east-Toronto neighbourhood where he grew up.

The Scarborough-bred singer, songwriter and record producer, born Abel Tesfaye, says he felt "it was important to give back to the community that raised me."

The donation to Scarborough Health Network Foundation comes from proceeds from The Weeknd's XO-branded face masks, and a dollar-for-dollar matching donation by the artist.

The Weeknd launched his $20 cloth masks back in April, promising all proceeds would go towards COVID-19 relief.

The Scarborough foundation says the donation will bolster its own emergency fund, used to purchase equipment including ventilators, ICU beds, vital signs and ECG monitors, personal protective equipment and health and wellness supports for frontline workers.

Scarborough Health Network Foundation supports patients across three hospitals and eight satellite sites.

"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," Tesfaye said Monday in a release.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2020.

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