By Nick Cipriani ‘21

Growing up, I have always been surrounded by a small business. My grandfather started an independent pharmacy over 50 years ago. His company, Hills Family Drug, has overcome many obstacles, but nothing compares to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thousands of small businesses across the country have suffered greatly during the pandemic. Profits evaporated as businesses were forced to close their doors. Employees could no longer rely on their regular paychecks.

As hard times continued, the owner of Barstool Sports, Dave Portnoy, set out to protect these small businesses.

Dave personally knows the struggle of starting a business. Barstool Sports has transformed from a small business to the number one media company in the sports world. Every young athlete and fan knows Barstool.

Portnoy decided to use his famous brand to help out his fellow small business owners.

On December 17, Portnoy released a video on Twitter about the recent shut-down orders in New York City. He said, “How do you expect these people to survive? How are restaurants going to survive? They are already on their last legs and you’re pulling the plug on them.”

Later that day, Dave Portnoy introduced the 30-day Barstool Fund. All donations to the fund will be used to assist and support small businesses during these difficult times.

Businesses only have to fill out an application explaining why they need some extra help during the pandemic. Barstool then reviews the applications and selects businesses to sponsor.

Word quickly spread about the Barstool Fund. In only three weeks, $20 million was donated. Around 160,000 donors have supported nearly 100 businesses across the country. The totals just keep expanding every day.

The majority of the recipients fall under the restaurant category, but a variety of small businesses are also receiving financial help.

Recently, Kid Rock generously donated $100,000 to the fund in hopes to inspire other people to take action.

A few days later, Dave Portnoy talked with quarterback Aaron Rodgers about the fund on Instagram Live. He said, “I just want to get involved. The videos every day are so inspiring.” Rodgers then pledged to donate $500,000 in efforts to help small businesses.

Dave Portnoy even started uploading his facetime calls with many of the business owners.

The reality of the situation hits them as they collapse with genuine joy. It never gets old seeing the extreme gratitude and appreciation from these hard-working Americans. It truly means the world to them.

My mother, the current owner of my grandfather’s small business, was ecstatic when I told her about the Barstool Fund. She said, “People come to small businesses for friendly service. It is very gratifying to know that people care enough about us to help during these difficult times.”

Small businesses are the heart and soul of the American economy.

Many of these owners have dedicated their entire lives to serving the members of our communities. It is our job as customers to help these owners through the pandemic.

Barstool Sports have provided citizens with an opportunity to help those in need. We must take action and protect our small businesses.

As the 30-day fund is coming to an end, last-minute donations can make a sustainable impact. Give back to your community by donating to the Barstool Small Business Fund.