A city in New Jersey got creative to raise money for their small businesses by invoking the help of the frontman for the Goo Goo Dolls.
Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle told CNN she is neighbors with the band’s lead singer, John Rzeznik, and decided he would be the perfect person to kick off the new “We Love Local” fundraiser.
The idea is to have a series of porch concerts, and other events, to help raise money for the small businesses affected by social distancing due to the coronavirus. Brindle was inspired by a porch concert the town had for St. Patrick’s Day.
“[Rzeznik] is incredibly generous and has always said to me to let him know if there is anything he can do for the town. His preference notably is he would love to raise money for good things,” Brindle said.
“I said, ‘Hey, would you be willing to do this porch performance to support this fundraiser?’ and in five seconds he texted back and said ‘Yes!’”
The concert was streamed Friday on Facebook Live and Brindle said people tuned in from all over the world.
The launch helped raise $25,000 for local businesses and unlocked a $15,000 match from the Westfield United Fund, an organization created for monetary relief after 9/11 and was also used after Hurricane Sandy.
“The feedback… has been crazy, not only from the town, but even on behalf of John Rzeznik,” she said.
There is a committee currently working on the parameters of the relief money and figuring out exactly how it should be distributed among independent businesses. The town will hopefully come up with a goal when they know about how much money they need.
Brindle said that even though there aren’t specific activities planned right now, everything the town does will go toward their fundraising efforts, and the porch concerts will be a regular thing.
Brindle hopes that Westfield’s efforts will inspire other local cities to do the same thing until more federal support comes into place.