Aaron Rodgers' philanthropic ways have now added up to more than $1 million given to small, locally owned businesses in and around his hometown of Chico, California, the North Valley Community Foundation announced Monday.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback created the Aaron Rodgers Small-Business COVID-19 Fund last month.
Nine of those business were personally notified by Rodgers and North Valley Community Foundation president/CEO Alexa Benson-Valavanis in video calls, which can be viewed on Rodgers' Instagram account.
"Small, locally owned businesses are the heart and soul of a community," Rodgers said in a statement. "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."
Rodgers, a native of Chico who also began his college career there at Butte College before he transferred to Cal, first began the fund with a $500,000 donation. He doubled it shortly thereafter. Another $100,000 was added in donations.
Rodgers previously had donated $1 million to help Butte County recover from a wildfire in November 2018. Restaurants and retail businesses with 20 or fewer full-time equivalent employees could apply for help through the Rodgers fund. Many restaurants, which still cannot serve diners indoors because of California restrictions, were among the 80 businesses that have received aid from the fund.