San Jose Sharks Give Back to Community, Furloughed Workers

As job losses and pay cuts wreak economic havoc on Silicon Valley, the San Jose Sharks have made a point of going above and beyond when it comes to giving back to the community and their employees.

That has been made evident once again during the COVID-19 crisis.

Not only did the organization recently establish the Sharks Sports & Entertainment COVID-19 Relief Fund to support its part-time workers, but it is paying its salaried workers—those who rely on the Sharks as their primary source of income—their full wages through shelter in place.

In addition, part-time workers who were already signed up to work an event before the pandemic—for instance, ushering Sharks home games—will be paid for those contests, even though those games got cancelled due to COVID-19.

“We’re going to pay for those shifts you missed because those workers are the ones most hurting because often their other job may not be as generous as we can be,” Sharks President Jonathan Becher said.

The COVID-19 Relief Fund provides eligible individuals a $500 grant to the 1,800 part-time workers who staff not only events at the SAP Center, but at the Solar4America ice facilities in San Jose and Fremont and the Oakland Ice Center.

The best part about the fund, Becher said, is that the workers won’t have to go through hoops and hurdles to access the grants.

“You only have to prove two things, one of which is putting in an employer ID number which proves you have worked for us in the last few months,” he said. “And you have to certify you have a lower household income. We’re not looking for that tech worker [who doesn’t rely on the Sharks as their main source of income]; we want somebody who has been severely impacted by this crisis to get these grants.”

Establishing the COVID-19 fund has truly been an organization-wide effort. Sharks ownership, coaches, players, front office staff, corporate partners and close supporters of the organization have already pledged more than $200,000 to launch the fund.

Public donations will continue through July 25. Better yet, Sharks ownership will match every dollar that is raised in the campaign, which is run by a third party. To make a donation, visit sjsharks.com/covid19relief.

Becher said the outpouring of generosity from fans and suite-holders have been nothing short of life-affirming.

“They’ve contributed a lot, and if we raise enough where everyone gets the $500, maybe we have a chance to go through a second round,” he said. “This is a worthy cause and the right thing to do. We use the phrase Teal Together. We’re all teal in some ways.”

Prior to establishing the Covid-19 Relief Fund, the Sharks organization donated $300,000 to Second Harvest of Silicon Valley and 2,000 pounds of food to Martha’s Kitchen, a local non-profit that feeds the underserved in the community. “We’re a South Bay team,” Becher said. “Doing good in the community goes deep in our blood.”

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