Saints owner creates Gayle Benson Assistance Fund, helps businesses impacted by COVID-19

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FILE – In this Nov. 24, 2019, file photo, New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson, watches the team warm up, before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in New Orleans. The Saints contend their behind-the-scenes public relations work on the area’s Roman Catholic sexual abuse crisis was “minimal,” but attorneys suing the church allege hundreds of confidential Saints emails show just the opposite, the team actively helping to shape a list of credibly accused clergy that appears to be an undercount. Benson, who is close friends with the local archbishop, have disputed as “outrageous” any suggestion that the team helped cover up crimes. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

NEW ORLEANS, La. – New Orleans Saints’ owner Gayle Benson created and donated $1 million to the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund to aid with the coronoavirus outbreak in Louisiana.

“We have been meeting and planning a response since the NBA’s announcement to suspend games. Our meaningful discussions have led to what we believe is the most impactful way to best serve the needs of our community as a whole,” Benson said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, an enormous impact on our community and businesses of all sizes. We want to do our part to assist those that have been impacted in our community,” Benson added.

Benson’s fund also partnered with the Greater New Orleans Foundation. The GNOF agreed to assist the community fund with contributions and distributions.

“We were contacted by Mrs. Benson and her executive team to create this fund that will target those most affected by the closure of businesses and events in our city,” Andy Kopplin President and CEO of GNOF said.

“Mrs. Benson, with her organizations, has always been someone that this community looks to for leadership. Today is no different. We were so honored when she reached out to us to make a $1 million contribution to start the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund” Kopplin further said.

Benson will also establish an Arena Assistance Fund following the NBA’s league suspension. Employees at the Smooth King Center are not all Pelican Employees. The policy will coordinate with the Louisiana Stadium Exposition District and ASM New Orleans. Additionally, all Pelicans’ employees who work game days will only be guaranteed for the remainder of the postponed games.

The Saints’ owner also having her staff at Dixie Beer donate $1 of all “case equivalents of sales” for the next 30 days to the Louisiana Restaurant Association for the Employee Relief Fund. Benson will use the collective funds for the community assistance fund and match the raised money dollar-for-dollar towards the LRA fund.

Moreover, the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund will contribute $100,000 to the New Orleans Business Alliance’s new relief fund to aid “gig economy” workers in New Orleans.

“This weekend, we were contacted by Mrs. Benson’s executive team to see where the most affected areas of our economy were being hardest hit,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., President and CEO of New Orleans Business Alliance. 

“They wanted to find out the most efficient and powerful way to help. I am pleased to say that through Mrs. Benson’s $1 million donation, the New Orleans Business Alliance will receive $100,000 to aid “gig economy” workers in New Orleans. We are grateful for their continued generosity, civic leadership and partnership.   With continued civic leadership like Mrs. Benson’s, we will get through this together. ”

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