A solo Dave Matthews show, performed live from his home, will be the premiere episode of “Pay It Forward Live,” a new weekly series being sponsored by Verizon to help support small businesses suffering from lost business due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Verizon describes the new series as not strictly a music show but “a weekly streaming entertainment series that will include music, gaming, comedy and more in support of small businesses affected by COVID-19.”
“Small businesses are being impacted in extraordinary ways as we all fight against the spread of COVID-19,” said Verizon’s chairman-CEO, Hans Vestberg, in a statement. “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.”
The company announced details of how the charitable component of the series will unfold. Verizon said it will initially donate $2.5 million to Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and then, over the course of the series, home viewers will be “encouraged to tag their favorite local businesses and make a purchase in advance for when the crisis is over and the businesses reopen.” As that happens, the company says, it will unlock an additional $2.5 million, bringing the total donation to LISC a potential $5 million.
For its part, LISC will “use the funds to provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19, especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises that don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital in historically underserved communities.”
Verizon said additional performers for future weekly episodes of “Pay It Forward Live” will be announced soon.