Gayle Benson, the owner of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, has personally donated $1 million to establish to the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
"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," Benson said in a statement. "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."
The Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund is also partnering with The Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF). GNOF will assist 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," Andy Kopplin, President and CEO of GNOF said according to the statement. "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."
In addition to the $1 million contribution, Benson will establish an Arena Assitance Fund to help those affected by the postponement of NBA games and arena events. Since not all of the arena employees are Pelicans employees, the implementation of this fund will be in coordination with the Lousiana Stadium Exposition District (LSED) and ASM New Orleans to assist those individuals.
Over the next 30 days, Dixie Beer will donate $1 of all case equivalent of sales to the Louisiana Restaurant Association's (LRA) For Employee Relief Fund. Benson is set to use funds from the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund to match funds raised dollar-for-dollar towards the LRA's fund.