Packers, American Family Insurance gift Sherman Phoenix businesses 6 months rent relief

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Green Bay Packers are helping six Milwaukee businesses kick off the year with a little relief. The team, alongside American Family Insurance, gave them the special gift.

A $40,000 donation will give six months of rent relief for the six businesses inside the Sherman Phoenix, an entrepreneurial hub on the city's north side. The business owners say it couldn't have come at a better time. 

"Honestly, this year, it got a little rough towards the end of year, so to be able to not have to worry about rent for six months and to allocate those funds elsewhere…it is absolutely beneficial," said Jamila Riley, The Underground Makers Market. 

Packers player Oren Burks, who's a board member of the Sherman Phoenix Foundation, delivered the good news over zoom.

Latrece and Farnsworth Hendrickson, a couple who co-own Salon Lavish, own two salons in Milwaukee. They say this is especially helpful during a pandemic.

"That's what they were for us, angels, to help us move into 2022 with great support and we needed that," said Farnsworth. 

"Outside of everything else that's going on in the world right now and all the fear that's in place, and not knowing where the world is going and even in this time and in this season, somebody still chooses to reach back and support small businesses, Black businesses, so it means the world to us," Latrece said. 

The donation is also part of American Family Insurance's "Free to Dream" initiative. It's part of the company's pledge to give $105 million to close racial equity gaps and support minority-owned businesses.

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