Aaron Rodgers Donates $1 Million to 80 Small Businesses in His California Hometown

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Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers is giving back to those in need amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The 37-year-old Green Bay Packers quarterback has donated $1 million to help 80 struggling small businesses in his hometown of Chico, California, the North Valley Community Foundation announced in a press release.

"Small, locally owned businesses are the heart and soul of a community," Rodgers said in the release. "In the applications and the videos, it was heart-wrenching to hear about all the obstacles facing restaurants and retail establishments. So many of them are struggling just to stay in business but remain hopeful that there's an end to this."

Rodgers, along with NVCF President and CEO Alexa Benson-Valavanis, personally informed nine of the businesses of his generous donation in video calls shared publicly on his Instagram account. Some of those businesses include Nona's Great Harvest Bread Co., Naked Lounge, AcaTaco, and Cal Java Esplanade.

"We're gonna take care of you guys. We're gonna send some funds over very, very shortly to take care of rent and utilities," Rodgers told one of the business owners in the released videos.

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The NFL star created the Aaron Rodgers Small Business COVID-19 Fund last month with a $500,000 donation. He then increased his donation to $1 million, and the NVCF contributed another $100,000.

"Aaron is such an incredible person," Benson-Valavanis said in the release. "He looked at everything, decided he wanted to do more and doubled down on his original $500,000 commitment. He is such a champion for his hometown."

Grant Halverson/Getty Aaron Rodgers

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This is not the first time that Rodgers has given back to his hometown. In 2018, he donated $1 million to help Butte County recover from the deadly California wildfires that year.

"Whether is wildlife recovery or trying to help in a pandemic, the role of philanthropy and a community foundation in any disaster is doing our part to stabilize the community. This does exactly that," said Benson-Valavanis. "Butte County needs healthy businesses to preserve the fabric of our community, and fortunately Aaron and our other donors recognize that."

Rodgers grew up in Chico and played football at Butte Community College for one year before transferring to the University of California, Berkeley, where he played until being selected by the Packers in the 2005 NFL Draft.