SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Former Syracuse University basketball player Eric Devendorf has some new teammates to lessen the impact of COVID-19 and take small businesses off the bench.

With new partnerships, Devendorf has created CNY Cares Inc., a nonprofit organization, that will raise money through local grassroots efforts, with the support of large businesses and community leaders, and residents.

“I really wanted to make it official. When these few people reached out to me to make it happen, it was a no-brainer, and it just allows us to do more on a bigger scale,” Devendorf explained.

In just 3 weeks, the organization has already raised $300,000 of its $5 million dollar goal.

“I think we’ll be able to do it. The community and surrounding areas always seem to come through and support and really rally around us, so, I don’t think it’ll be any different for this one,” said Devendorf.

For this initiative, Devendorf says small businesses in Syracuse and Rochester can benefit.

Throughout it all, Devendorf’s message has stayed the same and that’s to give back and inspire others to do the same.

We want to help out, we want to give back. I know it seems like it might be getting a little bit better, but we’re still in the middle of the pandemic and a lot of small businesses still need help.

I just think being able to launch this nonprofit, it will just allow us to help out on a larger scale and allow us to do more.

Eric Devendorf, Founder, CNY Cares Inc.

Devendorf’s last campaign through GoFundMe raised $75,000 to help small businesses endure.

Click here to visit for more information, to donate, or to apply for a loan if you are a small business.