Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy has helped raise more than $22 million for scores of small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Portnoy—or "El Presidente" as he's known to diehard Stoolies—kicked things off with a hefty $500,000 personal donation in December. As of January 11, Portnoy's "Barstool Fund" had raked in an impressive $22.3 million from nearly 175,000 contributors, including Barstool-friendly celebs like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Guy Fieri and Kid Rock. The money donated so far will help 109 struggling small businesses.
Portnoy helped generate publicity for his small business-boosting fund by posting videos of calls in which he informs business owners they'll be receiving aid. As the Evansville, Indiana Courier & Press reports, one such video featured James Siebert, owner of Siebert's Clothing in Jasper, Indiana.
"We've gotten the whole story about your store—your daughter sent it—we wanna help," Portnoy said. "We wanna get you in the Barstool Fund and get you guys the funds you need, and make sure you're good 'til this thing's over."
"I'm going to start crying, Dave," Siebert said. Portnoy replied, "Crying gets you more donations. People get to see how moved you're going to feel; I love it."
That exchange caught the attention of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who retweeted the clip with the comment, "This is awesome Dave. Count me in."
Most recently, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers announced that he'd match Portnoy's $500,000 donation in an Instagram live interview.
"I've been following you for a while, and I love the brand and what you guys have done, but this far exceeds anything you have ever done," Rodgers told Portnoy. "I just want to get involved. The videos everyday are so inspiring. I'm in. I want to be in the same amount you put in, $500,000."
"They are doing something that the government isn't doing," Rodgers continued. "This is real money. This is not, 'Hey, we'll put you on a list and we'll try to work you in.' You're getting them the money in 24 to 72 hours. That's life-changing money."
Celebrity chef and restaurateur Guy Fieri also showed support for the Barstool Fund by pinning the above tweet to the top of his feed.
Meanwhile, Kid Rock pledged $100,000 in a tweet, adding "THIS IS THE AMERICA I LOVE."
Fox News reports that the 44-year-old media mogul called out CNN for its lack of coverage after the network reported on Beyoncé's "BeyGOOD Impact Fund" offering $5,000 grants to 100 people facing foreclosures or evictions during the pandemic.
"This is great. I wonder if there are any other charities going on that are helping Americans with the corona pandemic that could use press coverage to help raise more money?" Portnoy reacted with three cricket emojis.
"I have no problem with them talking about Beyonce," Portnoy later explained to Fox Business host Stuart Varney. "Any charity is good. She donated, I think, half a million dollars to helping people who are getting kicked out of their houses because of COVID, which is great."(CNN published a story on Rodgers' donation two days later.)
Head to the Barstool Fund's webpage to donate if you're interested and able.