News & Multimedia

Verizon is Helping Small Businesses during COVID-19 with Pay It Forward Live

In the wake of small businesses across the country struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, Verizon has created Pay It Forward Live, a weekly live streamed entertainment series that brings the biggest names in entertainment, sports and gaming to help small businesses. In addition, Verizon has committed up to $7.5 million to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit that invests in affordable housing, economic development and jobs, to offer critical relief and resiliency-building support to small businesses facing financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the course of #PayItForwardLIVE, Verizon will unlock up to $2.5 million as viewers use the hashtag #PayItForwardLIVE and tag their favorite local businesses. For each mention, Verizon will donate $10 to LISC.


The weekly event will continue Tuesday, May 12 with an iRacing-centered event with all 14 Team Penske drivers, representing five different racing series, including NTT INDYCAR SERIES stars Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden, INDYCAR iRacing Challenge winner Scott McLaughlin, and three time Indianapolis 500 winner and full-time IMSA competitor Helio Castroneves, plus NASCAR Cup Series stars Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Matt DiBenedetto. All of Team Penske’s IMSA and Supercars drivers will also compete.  The event will be hosted by motorsports reporter Jamie Little.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people across the globe,” said three-time Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Castroneves. “Small businesses everywhere - from our hometowns to the cities where we compete - are being majorly impacted, and I'm glad we can join forces with Verizon to do our part to help to make sure they can all reopen.”

The iRacing event will feature the Team Penske drivers participating in three short races using tracks and vehicles not represented in INDYCAR or NASCAR. The drivers will race from the safety of their own home as they share and support their favorite local businesses, engage with fans and create small business-themed in-game experiences all while encouraging viewers to visit to support local businesses.


Will Power Verizon 2020


Verizon and LISC will provide grants of up to $10,000, offered through a grant application process, to businesses facing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Verizon and LISC are especially looking to help entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically underserved communities that do not have easy access to flexible, affordable funds. 

With a total of up to $7.5 million in grants to come, some 750 local entrepreneurs across the country will have resources to keep their businesses, employees and communities going through the pandemic and beyond. Money from the grants can be used to pay rent and utility bills, meet payroll needs, pay outstanding debt to vendors or any other immediate operational costs.

In the first round of grants, over 200 recipients each received a $10,000 grant. The strong demand for the first round of applicants led to Verizon increasing its contribution through a second round of grants totaling $2.5 million.

“The overwhelming response received from the first round of applicants stressed the urgent need for additional funding to these businesses,” said Rose Stuckey Kirk, chief corporate social responsibility officer of Verizon. “Verizon recognizes how valuable small businesses are and that the economic stability of our communities is based on their success. It’s critical that we lean in and support these businesses so they can continue to sustain themselves during this unprecedented time of need.”

Previous #PayItForwardLIVE entertainment and guests have included Dave Matthews, Ryan Tedder, Alicia Keys, Luke Bryan and many more.

Additionally, Verizon is encouraging fans to visit to support local businesses by shopping online, buying a gift card or ordering a meal.

Small businesses looking for financial help or additional support from Verizon’s Small Business Fund can visit The third round of grant applications opens Thursday, May 14.

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