Believe in Boston - Crowdfunding raises $2 million for Boston victims; CrowdFund policing is needed

posted Apr 21, 2013, 8:45 AM by David Khorram   [ updated Apr 21, 2013, 9:21 AM ]

We have been following the Boston tragedy by reading Google news from the news media was kind of out of control, providing much conflicting information and sometimes even misinformation .

We have detected the following CrowdFunding campaign and our staff is searching for more . CrowdFunding is a It’s a sound way to direct the flood of compassion -- and money -- that inevitably follows a U.S. Tragedy. That’s part of the reason that scoundrels and thieves are prospering in a disaster, " reason is simple , "because the generosity of the American people is phenomenal.”

Please review all campaign and report any misrepresentation. 

Below are campaigns dedicated to those affected by the attacks in Boston on April 15, 2013.

  • Help for Patrick and JessGIVE NOW

    $566,325 raised of $1,000,000 goal

    Friends and family of Patrick and Jess join to support them as they recover from injuries sustained at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

  • Ann + Eric Whalley Recove...GIVE NOW

    $102,266 raised of $200,000 goal

    Ann & Eric Whalley are residents of Charlestown, MA who were severely injured in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings. Please help support!

  • Recovery for BrittanyGIVE NOW

    $38,277 raised of $150,000 goal

    Brittany's family and friends support her as she begins recovery from injuries sustained at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

  • Recovery for LizaGIVE NOW

    $19,376 raised of $150,000 goal

    Friends and family of Liza join to support her as she recovers from injuries sustained at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

  • In Memory of Martin Richa...GIVE NOW

    $17,881 raised of $20,000 goal

    The Richard Family will need help with expenses in the coming months. Please consider a donation to help toward those expenses.

  • Michelle L"Heureux Boston...GIVE NOW

    $9,233 raised of $300,000 goal

    Friends of Michelle L'Heureux are raising money to assist with medical bills incurred for her hospital stay following the bombing in Boston.

  • Karen Rand/Boston Maratho...GIVE NOW

    $7,235 raised of $200,000 goal

    My mother was with her best friend Krystle Campbell on the day of the Boston Marathon bombings. Krystle didn't make it, my mom is recovering

  • Lee Ann and Nick YanniGIVE NOW

    $3,508 raised of $2,500 goal

    Friends and colleagues of Lee Ann Yanni are coming together to raise money to help her recover from Boston marathon bombing injuries.

  • Remy Recovery FundGIVE NOW

    $2,905 raised of $20,000 goal

    Help me in the attempt to raise money for Remy Lawler. A truly wonderful person in need of our help. Please show your support.

  • Rebekah Gregory Benefit A...GIVE NOW

    $1,697 raised of $10,000 goal

    Boston Marathon victims Rebekah Gregory and her 5-year old son Noah were tragically injured in the senseless bombing attacks. Please help.

  • Aid for Andy PetersenGIVE NOW

    $0 raised of $750 goal

    Andy was born with Encephalopathy which is permanent brain damage. We are raising funds to help with expenses to aid Andy in his daily life.

Six days after the Boston bombings, crowdfunding websites that raise money for medical tragedies from car crashes to cancer say they’ve received more than 23,000 pledges promising more than $2 million for the victims and families of the marathon attack.

That includes nearly $500,000 for Celeste and Sydney Corcoran of Lowell, Mass., a mother-daughter duo who were both severely injured as they stood at the finish line. And it includes more than $560,000 directed to Boston newlyweds Jessica Kensky Downes and Patrick Downes, who each lost a leg in the blasts.

“All of us were like, ‘How can we help?’” said Leslie Kelly, 56, of Pebble Beach, Calif., whose two daughters grew up with Jessica Downes, 32. “We felt so helpless. I thought, we can’t all send flowers. I couldn’t sleep all night. I got up the next morning and started a Wells Fargo account and then got the word: You need to do something online.”

Kelly started an account at GoFundMe, while other friends of the pair turned to GiveForward, two of the top three sites that say they provide a quick, easy way to get money directly to specific victims at a time of need.
Crowdfunding is actually very empowering to the donors and supporters,” said Brad Damphousse, chief executive of GoFundMe, which has raised nearly $1.3 million through its “Believe in Boston” campaigns. “It’s a way of being part of the solution instead of smoldering about the problem.”

But experts in charitable fraud warn that the fundraising efforts based on the model may be a risky way to offer help. That site helps painters, filmmakers and musicians raise funds for creative projects, and was the first online crowdfunding website to make the practice widespread. 

“You want to make sure that the money you donate goes to the intended party,” said Allan Bachman, education manager for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
The top crowdfunding sites -- GoFundMe, GiveForward and YouCaring -- all say they vet the people who set up fundraising accounts for medical victims, and they all say they’re quick to pull the plug at the first sign of anything suspicious.

“We’ll suspend and investigate the fundraiser after one flag,” said Ethan Austin, co-founder and president of GiveForward, which has raised more than $41 million since it started in 2008.
The nature of the Internet and the personal ties to the accounts mean that the environment is self-policing, said Damphousse, whose site has raised about $54 million for medical, educational and other causes since 2010.

“The thing about crowdfunding is, it’s all based on social proof,” Damphousse said. “There’s so many more eyeballs on these campaigns ... If you’re a bad steward on the Internet, word travels fast.”
The way the sites work is this: Friends, family or sometimes the victims themselves set up an account. The organizers review the requests before allowing them to go live. If approved, the funds go directly to the recipients, usually within three to five days, Damphousse said. 

  1. GoFundMe: takes an 8 percent fee from all money raised; GiveForward charges a 7 percent fee, but offers donors the option of covering those so that all money goes to the recipients. About 63 percent do, Austin said.
  2. YouCaring doesn’t charge fees at all and instead gives donors the option of giving extra money to run the site, said Michael Blasco, a spokesman for the company that has raised about $20 million in two years. “You look at some of these fundraisers and they’re raising $300,000. That’s $20,000 to $30,000,” he said. “We’re completely free.”

But fees aren’t the only worry, said Ken Berger, president and chief executive of Charity Navigator, an independent, nonprofit group that evaluates charities. A system that approves accounts within hours and promises to move money within days is ripe for problems. “It’s better than nothing at all, but self-policing has its limits,” he said.

Leslie Kelly said she felt good about the vetting that GoFundMe performed before she was allowed to open an account for Kensky, a Massachusetts General Hospital nurse, and Downes, 29, who just received a graduate degree from Boston College. They were married last August.

"There's so many more good people out there than evil," Kelly said, adding that the funds will go to pay for medical care not covered by the couple's insurance. More than 70 percent of those who seek funds on GiveFoward have coverage, but it doesn’t cover lost work, transportation and some procedures,  Austin said.

“Cancer is really our No. 1 fundraiser,” he said. “The costs are so enormous. There’s a huge gap between what insurance pays and the out-of-pocket costs.”While critics understand the impulse to donate to one particular victim, they’re wary of any effort that promises to do that. Bachman suggests that people donate to established charities. If they must give to individuals, they should ask for an address to send a check instead of divulging financial information online, he advises.

Berger urges people who want to help marathon victims to send money to The One Fund Boston Inc., the charity just formed by Boston Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Tom Menino. Even though it’s new, it will be administered by Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw the Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund and the BP oil spill fund.

It’s a sound way to direct the flood of compassion -- and money -- that inevitably follows a U.S. Tragedy. That’s part of the reason that scoundrels and thieves are prospering in a disaster, "Berger said, "because the generosity of the American people is phenomenal.”