Small businesses across the country are confronting extreme economic challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. These enterprises are the backbone of local economies, providing essential goods, services, and jobs. Financial support at this critical time can make the difference between staying in business or closing permanently. Thanks to Verizon, small businesses now have a lifeline.
Early in the crisis, Verizon understood that small businesses would need help filling urgent financial gaps until normal operations can resume or until other more permanent financing becomes available. The company stepped up with a $7.5 million investment in LISC to launch the Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund, which provides grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses, particularly in historically underserved communities hit hard by the pandemic.
But that’s not all. Verizon’s weekly streaming series #PayItForward LIVE tapped some major celebrity star power to bring more attention and resources to small business recovery. The nine-week series featured top names in music including Dave Matthews, Usher, Chance the Rapper, Janelle Monáe, Billie Eilish, Alicia Keys and Ryan Tedder; world-class athletes like Tua Tagovailoa, Saquon Barkley, Rusty Wallace and Team Penske racecar drivers; plus champion gamers like Cizzorz, Nate Hill and Pokimane, with hilarious play-by-play by Joe Buck, Aisha Tyler, Oliver Hudson and Lilly Singh.
The numbers are impressive, but the real impact comes from stories of small business owners who have been able to keep their businesses open thanks to the Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund. They include a young man who returned to his hometown of Flint to bring cutting-edge water generation technology to the communities that need it the most; a woman in New Haven who came home from a trip to Puerto Rico inspired to open a salsa dance studio; and a pair of brothers in Los Angeles who are dedicated to preserving their family’s two Honduran restaurants.