Barstool Sports Launches Fund to Save Struggling Small Businesses Hurt by Lockdowns
Founder Dave Portnoy announces initiative to help small firms stay afloat
Barstool Sports has launched a new initiative to help save struggling small businesses as they continue to suffer from COVID-19 lockdowns.
Founder Dave Portnoy announced the "Barstool Fund" on Thursday, saying something has to be done since the government won't get "off their a**" and do something about it.
Portnoy has been campaigning against coronavirus restrictions, arguing that people are being blocked from earning an honest living.
He said in a video announcing his fund that he is going to put his money where his mouth is and donate $500,000 himself.
He admitted, "Is it the best plan? No. The best plan is the government getting of their a** and issuing relief, billions of dollars to these small business owners who are losing their livelihoods.
"That's the solution. That's the only solution really, but barring that, we're going to do whatever we can."
"How do you expect these people to survive?" Portnoy asked, noting that New York City recently banned indoor dining in response to the Chinese virus.
"How are restaurants going to survive?
"They're already on their last legs, and you're pulling the plug on them.
"And nobody seems to care in the government—or at least they're not doing anything acting like they care."
Introducing The Barstool Fund— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) December 17, 2020
If you are a small business that needs help staying in business because of covid email us your story to [email protected] We will try to help as many people as we can. pic.twitter.com/9BS8HeyHaq
“The Barstool Fund, it is modeled around [my cameraman] Frankie Borrelli,” Portnoy continued.
“Well, his dad owns Borrelli’s in Long Island, the perfect example of the type of business we are trying to save.
"Throughout this pandemic, I’ve been, like, ‘Hey, Frankie, how’s your dad doing? How’s Borrelli’s doing?’
"Every month it gets a little bleaker.”
Portnoy said he was inspired by Borrelli’s father, who is continuing to pay all his employees through the shutdown.
The Barstool Sports founder said he crafted the first rule of receiving money from The Barstool Fund off of Borrelli’s “going-down-with-the-ship” attitude.
"The requirement is: your payroll has to be on; you’re employees have to still be getting paid,” Portnoy said.
"So, if you meet that, and you’re a small business that’s been around for a little bit, or maybe not, but [whether it’s a] gym, restaurant, bar, and you’re not going to be able to survive the next couple of months, send us an email [at] [email protected]"
Portnoy said that once a business is approved to receive money from The Barstool Fund, he would make sure that that business receives monthly payments “till this thing’s over.”
“We don’t want to just, you know, what good does it do to help you for two months, then disappear, and you go out of business the next month?
"It doesn’t. I don’t care how I get the money.
"If I need to raise more money, if I have to pay it myself, whatever it is.
"I’ll get creative,” Portnoy said.
“But once you are in our program, we will pay whatever you need, the necessities you need, the money you need to get through this thing and give you a fair chance to run your business.”
The Barstool founder added that in addition to the fund, he would by featuring small businesses on a fundraising platform for others to crowdfund for those businesses that The Barstool Fund cannot support on its own.
“We are going to try to save as many businesses, small businesses as we can. Keep the employees getting paid, keep the owners in business, till this thing is over, and hopefully, we can save as many small businesses as humanly possible,” Portnoy said.
Borrelli, the owner of the first business to be approved for funds from The Barstool Fund, reacted to the news in a video posted by his son, Frankie, according to The Daily Wire.
“Wow. Wow, that’s amazing,” Borrelli said, choking up.
"Dave, I really want to thank you for starting this fund. You don’t know what it means to us.
“It started in April. We had our doors closed.
"We made it through the summer.
"We built an outdoor patio," he explains.
"People coming in, we were breaking even during the summer.
"I got my staff. They’re all being paid, and I said we’ll make it through Christmas.
"January, February, [and] March I was planning on closing.
"I didn’t say anything to my staff.
"This is going to help so much. You don’t know.
"Thank you from [the] bottom of my heart.
"And my staff, they have mortgages, families.
"You don’t know how many people you’re helping. Thank you.”