Gayle Benson has personally donated $1 million to create the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund in response to the Coronavirus situation affecting so many lives in our community.
"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," said Benson. "The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, an enormous impact on our community and businesses 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."
Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) Partnership: To make our efforts most impactful, we are partnering with The Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF). GNOF 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."
Opportunities to Join Us: For those wishing to take part in this effort, the Fund is available to accept additional outside donations by emailing Allie Betts at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting https://www.gnof.org/benson. The beneficiaries of this fund will be nonprofits working to support those in the service and hospitality industry, among other nonprofit groups.
Arena Assistance Fund: Separately from the $1 million contribution to start the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund, Benson will establish an 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 (LSED) and ASM New Orleans. Furthermore, all wages for Pelicans employees who work game days only will be guaranteed for the remaining postponed games.
Dixie Beer Community Support: In addition, Benson has mobilized her staff at Dixie Beer, effective immediately, to donate $1 of all case equivalents of sales for the next 30 days to the Louisiana Restaurant Association's (LRA) For Employee Relief Fund. Benson will use funds allocated to the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund to match monies raised dollar-for-dollar towards the LRA's fund.
Support for NOLABA Gig Economy Relief Fund: While working with GNOF to determine the most efficient way to aid these individuals, $100,000 from the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund will be allocated to the New Orleans Business Alliance's newly established relief fund https://www.nolaba.org/relief-fund/ to aid "gig economy" workers in New Orleans.
"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," said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., President and CEO of New Orleans Business Alliance. "They wanted to find out the most efficient and powerful way to help. I am pleased to say that through Mrs. Benson's $1 million donation, the New Orleans Business Alliance will receive $100,000 to aid "gig economy" workers in New Orleans. We are grateful for their continued generosity, civic leadership and partnership. With continued civic leadership like Mrs. Benson's, we will get through this together. "
Anyone wishing to join in supporting the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund we recommend reaching out to the Greater New Orleans Foundation by emailing Allie Betts at email@example.com or by visiting https://www.gnof.org/benson.