Verizon is doing its part to keep people entertained as they practice social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, kicking off weekly 30-minute concert series Pay It Forward Live on its Twitter account and via Yahoo Entertainment.
Pay It Forward Live will feature intimate performances by artists from their homes, and it will be livestreamed every Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, starting with Dave Matthews this Thursday (March 26).
Verizon said additional artists and partners will be announced at a later date.
The company will initially donate $2.5 million to Local Initiatives Support Corp., a national nonprofit organization that has invested $20 billion to fuel economic opportunity for people and communities across the U.S.
Viewers who tune into the Pay It Forward Live performances will be encouraged to tag their favorite local businesses and make a purchase in advance, such as a gift card, for when they reopen, and Verizon said that as this type of engagement increases, it will add another $2.5 million to its donation.
LISC will use the funds to provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing financial hardships due to the Covid-19 crisis, with a focus on those owned by women and minorities and those in underserved communities.
Businesses will be able to submit applications online, after which they will be entered into a lottery.
Verizon is also incorporating its Verizon Up customer loyalty program into its efforts, giving members the ability to apply their monthly rewards toward a Visa e-gift card to support small businesses throughout the month of April.
Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg said, “Small businesses are being impacted in extraordinary ways as we all fight against the spread of Covid-19. 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.”