Dave Portnoy Starts The Barstool Fund to Save Small Businesses from COVID Shutdowns

dave portnoy the barstool fund (1)

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy is not a shy supporter of small business. And now he’s literally putting his money where his mouth is with The Barstool Fund.

On Thursday, Portnoy announced he’s creating a monetary fund for small businesses to help them survive shutdown orders created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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He announced the program on a live stream on Thursday. In it, he blasted elected officials in Washington DC for failing to pass relief legislation aimed at helping small businesses across the country.

Dave Portnoy Creates The Barstool Fund to Help Small Businesses Through COVID Pandemic

“How do you expect these people to survive,” Portnoy said in a live video Thursday. “How are restaurants going to survive? Nobody in the government seems to care. Or at least no one is acting like they care.”

Portnoy also recently chastised New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio for ordering a halt to indoor dining at restaurants in New York, where his company is now located.

Other states, like Pennsylvania and California, also have a similar order in place.

Portnoy foresees impending closures for many of these businesses and says he wants to help. The cause is personal to him in several ways.

His flagship brand BarstoolSports.com was once a very small business — employing just Portnoy himself.

He also produces a wildly popular series of video pizza reviews called “One Bite (Everyone Knows the Rules)”. That series centers on Portnoy (aka “Davey Pageviews”) visiting a random pizza restaurant wherever he’s currently located and giving them a score on the quality of their pizza.

The father of the cameraman for that series, Frankie Borrelli, also owns one of the affected New York restaurants.

Barstool Fund

Portnoy’s Barstool Fund has $500,000 in it. And it’ll go to small businesses who apply and qualify for some relief. Portnoy recognizes that it’s not a lot of money to help businesses but it’s something.

And unlike other funds which were short-lived, he wants the businesses that do get awards from the Barstool Fund to get paid monthly until pandemic restrictions are lifted.

“Once we pick you, we cut you the check to get you through January,” he explained. “Each month, we will continue to cut you a check for how much you need to stay in business until this thing is over.”

Portnoy says the Barstool Fund is modeled after Borrelli’s father’s restaurant. The elder Borrelli, Portnoy says, never stopped paying employees, even through shutdown orders. So Portnoy is making that one rule for eligibility to his program, businesses need to have kept employees on their payrolls.

After that, the rules are simple: a business needs to just tell him what it needs to get to the next month.

“What can we do to make sure you stay in business until this pandemic is over,” he asked.

To apply for this fund, simply send an email to barstoolfund@barstoolsports.com. Portnoy says he won’t be able to help everyone but has ideas on raising more money when the initial fund dries up.

You can see more about The Barstool Fund in his live video from Thursday:


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Image: @stoolpresidente/Twitter

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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

7 Reactions
  1. That $500K will go fast, but even if it only helps a handful of places survive it will have been a worthy effort. I appreciate his efforts.

  2. We have worked as an essential business performing highway safety. We need help now with payroll $50K a month.

  3. I would like to make a contribution to your fund. How do this with confidence it will go the correct ligitamant place.

  4. I own a small Mom and Pop restaurant for 11yrs. we serve breakfast & lunch we are basically the only one in our town,we have kept our doors open by the skin of our teeth and my husband borrowing from his 4o1k. We tried to apply for loans and grants but I was refused because I owe to many medical bills which has nothing to do with my business. I would like a little help to get us through the winter with rent heat payroll etc. Thank-you for your time and being out there to help the small businesses.

  5. Hello I’m a small business owner trying to stay up float with the COVID-19. With all my heart I’m so trying not to declare bankruptcy because I love the people and the work I do. This business is the Legacy of my father how past away several years ago. My business is doing HVAC Insulation and Ductwork.We tried to apply for loans and grants but I was refused.. I would like a little help to get us through materials cost and rent and payroll etc. Thank-you for your time to help small businesses going through a struggle and tough time.

  6. I can’t stop watching all these beautiful videos. Man you are a super amazing dude! I just started working as the kitchen manager at the daily brew in cataumet,(cape cod). I know you get a million requests but you have to come and visit , then you will know why we deserve a little help. We don’t have pizza , but if you let me know your coming , ill make it happen, Best wishes

  7. Hi I am the owner of a small family owned wing restaurant and we opened up July of 2020 during the pandemic but the whole build out restaurant process started before the pandemic and we are still open and trying to stay a float with so many of these Covid 19 restriction in our state. We have build a really good following and just need that extra support to make it through for the next few months and hopefully all of this passes so we can open up fully with indoor dining. We did not receive any COVID help with Sba or ppp due to he fact we opened up after the dates required to receive help. So any type of help would be appreciated.

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