Packers: QB Aaron Rodgers creates fund to help small businesses, donates $1 million

Aaron Rodgers has been a critic of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic over the last year, especially when it comes to helping small businesses stay afloat amid crippling restrictions designed to limit the spread of the virus. Now, the Green Bay Packers quarterback is putting his money where his mouth is for a second time.

It was announced Monday that Rodgers had donated $1 million to 80 small businesses in and around his hometown of Chico, California.

“Small, locally owned businesses are the heart and soul of a community,” Rodgers said in a press release. “In the applications and the videos, it was heart-wrenching to hear about all the obstacles facing restaurants and retail establishments. So many of them are struggling just to stay in business but remain hopeful that there’s an end to this.”

The money is part of the Aaron Rodgers Small-Business COVID-19 Fund at North Valley Community Foundation in Chico. The funds will help cover rent and other operational costs. Rodgers started the fund in early February with a donation of $500,000 and then doubled it after seeing the need.

In addition to his own fund, Rodgers gave $500,000 to the Barstool Fund in January. That fund, started by Barstool Sports President Dave Portnoy, has raised $36.2 million for small businesses across the country, including several in Wisconsin.