'These are our people': Aaron Rodgers donates $500,000 to Barstool Fund to help struggling small businesses

Kendra Meinert
Green Bay Press-Gazette
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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers smiles as he is interviewed after a game against the Chicago Bears on Jan. 3 at Soldier Field. The Packers won 35-16.

Aaron Rodgers has donated $500,000 to The Barstool Fund to help small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback told Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy to count him in for a half-million dollars during an Instagram livestream on Friday night. Rodgers said he has been moved by videos of business owners sharing their stories and by the fund's "message of hope and love and empathy."

He encouraged his teammates, coaches, sponsors and other NFL players to join him in giving.

"We all have charities and stuff that are really important and do great work, but we're talking about our people. I mean these are our people," Rodgers said during the livestream. "This is the backbone of this country, small business and the middle class, that's taking it on the chin right now, and I want to get involved. I have to get involved."

Portnoy started The Barstool Fund in December with $500,000 of his own money to assist small businesses hit hard by the pandemic. It has gone viral and raised more than $21 million from 163,000-plus supporters to help 97 businesses across the country. The majority of recipients are bars and restaurants, including the 47-year-old The Abbey Bar & Grill in De Pere and J&B's Bar & Blue Ribbon Tap Room near American Family Field in Milwaukee. Barbershops, dry cleaners and yoga and dance studios have also been helped.

"They're (Barstool Fund) doing something that the government isn't doing, and so many people who have been struggling with the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) grants and not getting any money or waiting around for some sort of stimulus check that really is not going to help pay the rent for so many small businesses," Rodgers said.

"... This is real money. This is real change," he said.

Rodgers isn't the only celebrity to get behind the cause. Tom Brady, Kid Rock and Guy Fieri have also pledged their support.

Tax-free donations can be made directly to the fund or people can contribute by purchasing merchandise from the featured businesses at Small businesses in need of help due to the pandemic can submit an application at

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Contact Kendra Meinert at 920-431-8347 or Follow her on Twitter @KendraMeinert

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