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Corporate citizens step up

Corporate investment supports restaurant, hospitality and service workers

(Jan. 26, 2021) – As restaurant and hospitality workers continue to have their livelihoods negatively affected by the limitations and restrictions necessary to fight the current surge in COVID-19 cases in our community, several corporations have made significant donations to the Pay It Forward Mid-South campaign. All donations to the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund through the end of January will go directly to financial assistance for hospitality and service industry workers.

In the first five weeks of the campaign, individual and corporate donors contributed $393,071. In addition to campaign leadoff pledges from four hospital systems (Baptist Memorial Health Care, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Regional One Health, and St. Francis Hospital), commitments include:

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation - $50,000.00
International Paper - $50,000.00
FedEx - $25,000.00
First Horizon Foundation - $20,000.00 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for our neighbors across Tennessee,” said Roy Vaughn, executive director of the BlueCross Foundation. “We know many Memphis-area residents working in the restaurant and hospitality industries have been hit particularly hard, and we appreciate getting to play a part in the Pay It Forward Mid-South campaign to show support for them.”

“We have been gratified by the enthusiastic and rapid response of so many of our corporate citizens,” said volunteer campaign leader Dr. Reginald Coopwood, president and CEO of Regional One Health. “Restaurant and hospitality workers are critical to the culture and vitality of Memphis and the Mid-South, and we deeply appreciate companies’ investment in their wellbeing and financial sustainability during this incredibly challenging time.”

The Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund made its first set of grant awards, totaling $165,000, to Welcome To Memphis and MIFA on January 6. These two agencies are administering financial assistance grants through their websites, and The Fund’s Advisory Committee anticipates making another set of grant awards at the end of the campaign, with the total determined by the amount of Pay It Forward Mid-South dollars raised by January 31.

To donate to the campaign through January 31, click here.

About the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund

The Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund is the unified community relief effort to support organizations impacted by novel coronavirus and the economic consequences of the pandemic. The Fund is managed by the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, in partnership with City of Memphis, Shelby County Government, United Way of the Mid-South, and Momentum Nonprofit Partners/Mid-South Philanthropy Network. It provides flexible funding to nonprofit organizations serving community members in West Tennessee, Eastern Arkansas, and Northern Mississippi. To learn more about the fund, visit