NEW YORK – Dave Matthews will return to Pay It Forward Live, Verizon’s weekly live streamed entertainment series in support of small businesses affected by COVID-19 for a second live performance on Thursday, May 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT. Matthews kicked off the series on March 26 from his home in Seattle, where he will perform again for the final installment of the weekly version of the series. Details about how Pay It Forward Live will evolve this summer, as Verizon continues to support and provide resources for the small business community, will be announced soon.
“It's very important to try and find ways to look after the businesses that you love, those people that are in your hometown, who are part of who you are,” said Dave Matthews. “Figure out a way to help those people if you can help."
Throughout the nine weeks of the series, Pay It Forward Live has seen massive engagement, garnering more than 70 million livestream views, mobilizing each viewer to support their favorite local businesses, the soul of local communities, so they can reopen when the crisis passes. The series has featured some of the top names in music, gaming, entertainment and sports including Usher, Chance the Rapper, Janelle Monáe, Billie Eilish, Alicia Keys, Ryan Tedder, Team Penske drivers, Tua Tagovailoa, Joe Buck, Saquon Barkley, Cizzorz, Nate Hill, Pokimane, Aisha Tyler, Joe Buck, Oliver Hudson, Rusty Wallace and Lilly Singh, sharing their favorite local businesses and encouraging viewers to shop online, buy gift cards and order a meal to go.
“A magnitude of support is needed to help businesses right now,” said Diego Scotti, Chief Marketing Officer, Verizon. “We harnessed the power of more than 70 million people who came together to make a meaningful impact on their local businesses. This is a true movement and Verizon was proud to lead the way.”
The Verizon Foundation has committed up to $7.5 million in funding to small businesses nationwide across three rounds of grants through the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national non-profit. Today, the organization announced the second round of grants from LISC’s Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund to over 200 small business owners from across the country that will receive up to $10,000 to support their businesses. This second round of grants brings the total number of small businesses supported to over 400, helping them meet payroll, pay rent and address additional immediate operational needs.
LISC received over 170,000 applications so far to the Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund, and of the businesses receiving grants, 62 percent are women-owned, 90 percent minority-owned and 12 percent are veteran-owned. The small business grant recipients are in cities and towns nationwide, with 94 percent operating in underserved communities that have historically not had access to flexible, affordable capital.
Separately from the small business grants, Verizon will also be providing free one-year access to its premium BlueJeans Enterprise video conferencing service to each of the small business grant recipients of LISC’s Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund to help keep these small businesses productive.
To date, the total COVID-19 crisis commitment from Verizon and Verizon Foundation stands at over $55 million in contributions and donations to nonprofits around the globe. You can find more information on Verizon’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic here.