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Rays donate $100,000 to help St. Petersburg businesses

The Bucs and Lighting have also contributed to the Fighting Chance Fund, which provides grants to businesses and employees.
Tampa Bay Rays president Matt Silverman on donating more money to local businesses: “It’s an easy call for us to continue to do all we can for St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay Rays president Matt Silverman on donating more money to local businesses: “It’s an easy call for us to continue to do all we can for St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Apr. 20, 2020

The Rays joined the Bucs and Lightning in making a $100,000 donation to St. Petersburg’s Fighting Chance Fund designed to help small businesses.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced the donation Monday during an appearance on Tampa Mayor Jane Castor’s daily Facebook Live program.

“I’m letting the cat out of the bag on this one probably before my staff has even had a chance to announce it publicly," Kriseman said.

“It really says a lot about these sports teams and no question they care about the communities. I used to joke with Brian (Auld, team president) and the Rays that they weren’t letting the public know enough about everything they do in the St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay area."

The donation is in addition to part of the $1 million commitment the Rays and Rowdies have made through their foundations for assistance due to the coronavirus pandemic, which includes a grant program announced last week to help non-profits.

“It’s an easy call for us to continue to do all we can for St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay,” said Matt Silverman, another team president.

The Fighting Chance fund provides $5,000 grants to eligible small businesses within St. Petersburg, and $500 to their employees, and they don’t have to be paid back. In addition to the Glazers, who run the Bucs, and the Vinik Family Foundation (Lightning), the Milkey Family Foundation also contributed $100,000.

The program was originally seeded with $6.8 million from Hurricane Irma reimbursement funds from the federal government, and city officials have sought additional funding to reach more businesses.

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