Disney executive chairman Bob Iger and his wife, Willow Bay, dean of the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, have donated $5 million to help small businesses struggling through the coronavirus pandemic.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the gift during a COVID-19 news conference on Thursday.
“We are beyond grateful for your bold leadership,” Garcetti said of the couple, adding that the $5 million would help 1,000 of the “hardest-hit” businesses in every neighborhood of the nation's second-largest city.
The mayor said all of the businesses that would be helped have been on a wait list that continues to grow as funds have dried up while the city waits for federal assistance.
Garcetti mentioned that the couple had already donated $500,000 to the Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles, which supports small businesses and struggling families, at the beginning of the pandemic.
The small business grants, he said, have meant the difference between “folding up and pushing through.”
"I’m proud to announce that 1,000 of our city’s hardest-hit businesses will come off that waiting list and be helped now and be able to bridge this moment to survive and soon yes to thrive once again," Garcetti told reporters duign the news conference. "Thank you, Willow and Bob and your entire family for your generosity of realizing the importance of small businesses and standing up to help 1,000 businesses in every neighborhood of L.A."
Iger served as Disney chief executive for 15 years until being named executive chairman last year.