After a gut-wrenching week of extrajudicial killings of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, and an apparently coordinated retaliatory assault that led to the deaths of five police officers in Dallas, several fundraising initiatives have been started as a distraught nation grasps for some way to help.
A GoFundMe campaign benefiting the family of Alton Sterling, who was killed Tuesday during an altercation with police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has raised $600,000, well over the fund’s $200,000 goal. Started by the actress Issa Rae, star of the upcoming HBO comedy Insecure, the funds will go toward college scholarships for Sterling's children.
Two separate GoFundMe campaigns were also launched for the family of Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop in St. Paul, Minnesota, Wednesday. The first fund has already topped its $100,000 goal, with $109,000 so far. Xavier Burgin, who started the campaign, says the funds will go to Castile's mother, Valerie. A second GoFundMe, started by Castile's sister, Moni, has raised nearly $40,000,
And lastly, a campaign titled the “Support Dallas Police Memorial Fund,” launched after a gunman killed five Dallas police officers and injured several others, including civilians, at a Black Lives Matter protest on Wednesday, has thus far raised $1,000 of its $100,000 goal. The administrator of the fundraising campaign says he will be in touch with the Dallas police department to discuss how to distribute money raised.
The fund for the police officers was started by Danny Amaruccio, a retired funeral director in Norwalk, Connecticut. According to the fundraising page, Amaruccio says he also started a GoFundMe Campaign for Chris Marquez, "a famous U.S. Marine who was beaten outside a McDonalds in Washington D.C. by members of the Black Lives Matter group." According to a report in the Marine Corps Times, Marquez was robbed in the assault.
While GoFundMe often verifies the veracity of high profile fundraising campaigns, experts caution that people should be careful about making emotionally charged decisions to donate money. Funds ostensibly raised for one purpose may be diverted to another. And GoFundMe takes an 8% cut of any money raised, plus $0.30 per donation. Given the large numbers of donors to the shooting victims' campaigns, that can add up to thousands of dollars.