The $4 Million Dollar Miracle

Some small businesses will be getting a holiday miracle this year thanks to a massive fundraising effort by Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports.

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Star by National Christmas Tree at the White House. December 2019. (photo: Miki Jourdan)

Just call Dave Portnoy Santa Claus this year.

Portnoy, founder of the media company Barstool Sports, has raised over $4 million dollars to help 10 small businesses, and he is not finished yet.

Portnoy is spearheading a massive fundraising effort in partnership with the nonprofit 30 Day Fund to benefit struggling small businesses impacted by COVID-19 called “The Barstool Fund”.

Portnoy introduced the fund Dec.17 on Twitter, where he called for businesses to submit their stories to be considered for the fund.

Portnoy himself contributed $500,000 of his own money towards the effort.

“Introducing The Barstool Fund[.] If you are a small business that needs help staying in business because of covid,” Portnoy wrote on Twitter, “email us your story to barstoolfund@barstoolsports.com. We will try to help as many people as we can.”

Since announcing the effort, Portnoy has shared some of the video submissions and a few of the heartwarming reactions from restaurant owners chosen to benefit from the fundraising drive.

On Dec. 17, Portnoy posted a video to Twitter of restauranteur Frank Borelli, co-owner of Borelli’s, thanking Portnoy for starting The Barstool Fund. Borelli was moved to tears at the news that his business would soon be receiving help from the fund.

“You know what it means to us,” Borelli said. “This started in April. We had our doors close. We made it through December. We built an outdoor patio. People were coming in. We were breaking even during the summer. I cut my staff. They’re all being paid.”

“January through March, I was planning on closing,” he continued. “I didn’t say anything to my staff. This is going to help so much — you don’t know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

After raising funds for Trattoria L’incontro restaurant in Astoria, Portnoy posted a text he received from the owner Rocco that read “Wow. Want to cry, thank you.”

Portnoy also posted various videos showing the shocked and joyful reactions of restaurant owners upon the news that they had been chosen for the fund.

Portnoy has reached out doggedly through social media to wealthy individuals and organizations, encouraging them publicly to donate. Thursday morning he wrote on Twitter, “Rest assured if you are rich and I consider you my friend I’m coming for you. It’s not if it’s when. Don’t make me chase you #barstoolfund.”

His efforts have resulted in donations of over $4 million, including large single donations garnered from UFC President Dana White, the Winklevoss twins, NY Yankees Pitcher Ben Heller, and BodyArmor Founder Mike Repole. Portnoy has also reached out to other big names such as Scooter Braun, Mark Zuckerberg, and the New York Yankees soliciting donations.

Portnoy is continuing to collect applications and funds and was recently featured on Fox News, where he discussed the Barstool Fund in an effort to raise awareness and bring in more donations to help small businesses.

Thursday, Dave wrote on Twitter that he, “will go on any network any time to raise money for small businesses and the #barstoolfund. We have asked to go on everywhere. Only Fox invited me.”

Small businesses have taken extremely hard financial hits as they have attempted to comply with constantly changing safety mandates, often at great cost. Restaurants in particular have suffered immensely since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many losing lucrative businesses and family owned restaurants the owners have spent decades building.

As the gap between the rich and the poor continues to expand, more mainstream media and news outlets bringing attention to this issue would not only be a significant difference, but a Christmas miracle.

The political divide exists, and hyper-partisanship has its place. Raising money for struggling small businesses, who are the economic lifeblood of the U.S. economy, shouldn’t be one of them.

Dave Portnoy certainly isn’t going to give up on his effort to help keep U.S. small businesses afloat. After surpassing the $4 million dollar mark just an hour ago, Dave’s new goal is a bit loftier.

“Just passed 4 million raised for #barstoolfund thanks to @marcuslemonis 500k donation! Never would have started if he didn’t call me out. The new goal is infinity dollars.”

(Contributing journalist, Allegra Nokaj) (Contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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