With Seattle one of the first- and worst-hit areas of the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, Seattle Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer and his mother have seeded a Sounders Relief Fund with $500,000 to help small businesses particularly in the region of the city near CenturyLink Field.
As a story from the Sunday Seattle Times notes, that includes offering grants to ventures that in some ways are in direct competition with the club. For example, stadium-area hot dog stand owner Joe Bernstein received a $5,000 grant to help keep his business across afloat for the time being.
The Sounders Relief Fund has poured more than $500,000 into businesses impacted by the loss of games in Sodo. Here's how the money has helped keep some business afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. (via @jaydaevans) https://t.co/pOwvUma2CJ— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) May 10, 2020
"They realize that I’m part of the game-day experience, just as much as the beer vendors inside," Bernstein told the Times. "You’d think they’d want the hot-dog guy across the street closed. Some stadiums around America don’t have hot-dog stands within a mile. They’re not allowed. These guys care about their fans so much that they’re willing to pay to make sure I’m there. … It’s unbelievable.”
Hanauer explained why he helped the start the fund, which he hopes will grow considerably with additional donations.
“On match day I park at our offices and walk past 50 business, all of which are now shut down,” Hanauer told the Times. “This is for sure hard on the Sounders, but it’s nowhere near as hard on the Sounders as it is on Taylor Shellfish (Oyster Bar) or Salumi or Walker’s Lockers, where people can store their bags. This has just been devastating.”
Hanauer also admitted he knows the $500,000 in contributions are just a small part of what area businesses will need to stay afloat in the big picture. For more, read the Times' full piece here.