Gayle Benson donates $1 million in response to coronavirus pandemic
NEW ORLEANS- New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson has donated $1 million to create the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Benson plans on contributing to a community relief fund and to the employees that work in the arena as they are without a job during the outbreak.
"We have been meeting and planning a response since the NBA's announcement to suspend games. Our meaningful discussions have led to what we believe is the most impactful way to best serve the needs of our community as a whole," Benson said.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has had and will continue to have an enormous impact on our community and business of all sizes. We want to do our part to assist those that have been impacted in our community. We are grateful to the Greater New Orleans Foundation for their efforts in helping us get these funds to those in our community facing hardship due to the residual impact of COVID-19."
The Greater New Orleans Foundation has agreed to administer the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund, including assistance with contributions and distributions.
"We were contacted by Mrs. Benson and her executive team to create this fund that will target those most affected by the closure of businesses and events in our city," said Andy Kopplin, President and CEO of GNOF.
"Mrs. Benson, with her organizations, has always been someone that this community looks to for leadership. Today is no different. We were so honored when she reached out to us to make a $1 million contribution to start the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund."
Separately from the $1 million contribution to start the GBCAF, Benson will establish ab=n Arena Assistance Fund for those who are impacted by the NBA postponement of games. Noting that the employees at the arena are not all Pelicans employees, the policy and implementation of the fund will be in coordination with the Louisiana Stadium Exposition District and ASM New Orleans.
All wages for Pelicans employees who work game days only will be guaranteed for the remaining postponed games.
Zion Williamson, the 19-year-old Pelicans rookie, pledged to pay these arena employees for the next 30 days last week. Read more here.
In addition, Benson has mobilized her staff at Dixie Beer to donate $1 of all case equivalents of sales for the next 30 days to the Louisiana Restaurant Association For Employee Relief Fund. Benson will use funds allocated to the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund to match the money raised toward the LRA's fund.
To aid "gig economy" workers in New Orleans, $100,000 from the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund will be allocated to the New Orleans Business Alliance's newly established relief fund.
"This weekend we were contacted by Mrs. Benson's executive team to see where the most affected areas of our economy were being hardest hit," President and CEO of New Orleans Business Alliance, Quentin L. Messer said.
Those wishing to support the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund can reach out to the Greater New Orleans Foundation by emailing Allie Betts at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.gnof.org/benson
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