June 14, 2016; CNN Money
Even as bodies were still being removed from Pulse, the Orlando club where 50 people were shot on Saturday night, a GoFundMe Pulse Victims Fund account had already been set up by Equality Florida to receive donations for victims and their families. By yesterday evening, the fund had accumulated an unprecedented $4 million from more than 87,000 donors and multiple donations were coming in, minute by minute. GoFundMe waived its fees and made a $100,000 contribution, and a spokesperson says that the public response has broken all previous records.
On the website, Equality Florida reveals that it is working with the City of Orlando, local partners, and the National Compassion Fund, a project of the National Center for Victims of Crime, which deployed funds in both the Chattanooga and Aurora shootings, to distribute contributions from the Pulse Victim Fund.
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Though most of the gifts were far less than $1000, Cricket Wireless gave $25,000, and Executive Pride, an organization that promotes LGBT rights in the business community, posted a $30,000 contribution. Singer-songwriter Jeffree Star gave $20,000.
The City of Orlando has also established the OneOrlandoFund at the Central Florida Foundation. That fund has attracted at least one million dollar donation from Disney, along with a pledge to match the donations of any Disney employee. (Of Orlando’s 262,000 residents, 74,000 are tied to Disney.) Additionally, the corporation has set up five locations where Disney employees can donate blood and is working with the City of Orlando and the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association to offer free hotel rooms for victims’ friends and families. JetBlue has offered free flights to and from the city for victims’ immediate family and domestic partners.
Meanwhile, of course, there are the inevitable scams; for them, we have no words.—Ruth McCambridge