Saints, Pelicans Owner Gayle Benson Donates $1M to Create Coronavirus Fund

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IMarch 16, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 05: New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson looks on during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 05, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Gayle Benson has spent $1 million to create the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund in an effort to combat the continued spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

Benson is the owner of the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans and NFL's New Orleans Saints. 

She provided a statement (h/t the Pelicans' official website):

"We have been meeting and planning a response since the NBA's announcement to suspend games. Our meaningful discussions have led to what we believe is the most impactful way to best serve the needs of our community as a whole.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, an enormous impact on our community and businesses of all sizes. We want to do our part to assist those that have been impacted in our community. We are grateful to the Greater New Orleans Foundation for their efforts in helping us get these funds to those in our community facing hardship due to the residual impact of COVID-19."

The NBA announced Wednesday that all games would be suspended once that night's slate of games had concluded:

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Sunday that team owners and executives "are bracing for the possibility of mid-to-late June as a best-case scenario for the league's return."

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ESPN's Tim Bontemps added the NBA had extended a ban on team practices indefinitely, but players will be allowed to work out at team facilities on an individual basis. 

Benson's Pelicans were chasing the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 28-36 record before the NBA hiatus began. 

According to CNN, there are at least 4,008 people with confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, resulting in 70 deaths.