David Portnoy’s Barstool Fund, created on December 17, has raised over $10 million in two weeks to save 45 small businesses around the country. Both the amount raised, and the number of small businesses that are supported by the fund, are still growing by the hour.
Portnoy is a successful businessman who founded the sports blog Barstool Sports.
As of publishing time on December 30, The Barstool Fund has raised $10,560,657 from 88,573 good-hearted people who have either donated directly to the fund, or purchased an item of clothing, from which 100% of the profits go directly to supporting small businesses. Businesses that have received help include restaurants, gyms, dry cleaners and clothing stores.
Announcing the fund on December 17, David Portnoy explained how the fund works. He began by putting his money where his mouth is, contributing $500,000 of his own money.
“To qualify for money from us, you have to still be paying your employees. Your payroll has to be on,” Portnoy said. “After that, its what do you need the money for? How much do you need to get to the next month?”
“Once we pick you… each month we will continue to cut you a check for how much you need to stay in business until this thing is over,” Portnoy added.
He then volunteered to contribute more of his own money if it’s still needed and the fund runs dry. “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. “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.”
Thousands of businesses have applied for help.
The first business saved by the fund was Borrelli’s Italian Restaurant Café & Pizzeria, owned by the dad of Frankie Borrelli, a producer at Barstool Sports.
In a video posted on Twitter which has garnered 2.1 million views, Frankie Borrelli records his dad reacting to Portnoy announcing the Barstool Fund.
His eyes brimming with tears and his voice cracking, the senior Borrelli says, “You have no idea what this means to us… We built an outdoor patio. People were 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 or March I was planning on closing. I didn’t say anything to my staff, and 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,” Mr. Borrelli added, barely able to speak through the tears.
— Frankie Borrelli (@FrankieBorrelli) December 17, 2020
Since the first video, Portnoy and his team have posted dozens of FaceTime videos on The Barstool Fund’s Twitter account of people’s reactions when he gives them the good news. In another of Portnoy’s calls which has received 4.4 million views, Jim Seibert, third-generation owner of Seibert’s Clothing in Jasper, Indiana, tried to hold back his tears. “We’ve gotten the whole story about the store… we want to help, we want to get you in The Barstool Fund and get you guys the funds you need and make sure you’re good until this things over,” Portnoy told him. With his lips quivering and his voice wavering, Seibert said, “I’m going to start crying Dave.” Seibert had just buried his father, who had owned the store for decades, a couple of days prior to receiving the help.
Legendary Patriots quarterback Tom Brady retweeted Seibert’s video and gave his support to The Barstool Fund. “This is awesome Dave,” Brady wrote. “Count me in.”
You can also visit The Barstool Fund’s home page by clicking here.
As Gandalf said in “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien, “I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
You can follow this author on Twitter @MettlerZachary
Photo from Barstool Sports