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Verizon to Launch ‘Pay It Forward Live’ Streaming Series to Aid Small Businesses Impacted by Covid-19

Stephanie Sengwe

Verizon is coming to the aid of some small businesses. The telecom giant is launching a new weekly entertainment streaming series titled “Pay It Forward Live,” which will feature music, gaming, comedy and more, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The goal of the series is to potentially raise $5 million, which will be disseminated to various small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Small businesses are being impacted in extraordinary ways as we all fight against the spread of Covid-19,” said Verizon’s chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg. “These companies provide employment opportunities, goods, services, and gathering places that are the soul of local communities. ‘Pay It Forward Live’ will give all Americans an opportunity to help their favorite small businesses survive this unprecedented hardship.”

As part of the initiative, Verizon will donate $2.5 million to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) — a nonprofit that has invested $20 billion since 1979 to boost economic opportunity for people and communities across the US, according to THR.

During the series run, viewers are urged to tag some local businesses and purchase items in advance to be fulfilled once businesses reopen. After the series run, Verizon will commit an additional $2.5 million for a potential donation of $5 million.

LISC will then disseminate grants of up to $10,000 to businesses whose finances have been severely affected due to coronavirus-related closures. The nonprofit will launch an online application process, where candidates can apply. After review, candidates will then be entered into a lottery.

“Pay It Forward Live” is kicking off with a 30-minute, at-home live performance from Dave Matthews on March 26. The virtual concert will stream on Verizon’s Twitter page (@verizon), as well as on Yahoo Entertainment at 8 p.m. ET. More partners and artists will be announced at a later date.