Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger and his wife, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Dean Willow Bay, donated $5 million to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles in an effort to help 1,000 businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday.
During his COVID-19 briefing, Garcetti called Los Angeles’ small businesses the lifeblood of the city, and said that during the pandemic, communities have been shattered as businesses go under.
The city provided grants to help make the difference “between folding up and pushing through,” but the wait list for grants piled up without federal funds to assist the city, according to Garcetti.
“Thanks to an incredibly generous donation of $5 million from Willow Bay and Bob Iger, I’m proud to announce that 1,000 of our city’s hardest-hit businesses will come off that waiting list and be helped,” Garcetti said.
The couple previously gave $500,000 to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles at the beginning of the pandemic.
“Your new commitment will help these businesses weather this storm, and we are beyond grateful for your bold leadership,” Garcetti said.
Garcetti also urged Angelenos to give to the fund, no matter how little, to make a difference in the lives of struggling Angelenos.
Garcetti noted his personal connection to the city’s businesses: “I’m the grandson of two small businessmen, one who was a barber and one who was a tailor. I remember my first jobs were working for my grandfathers, sweeping up hair at the barber shop, helping sell ties in my grandfather’s clothing shop.”
People who want to donate to the fund can visit mayorsfundla.org/covid19/.