Monday, 22 April 2013

$2 Million Boston Victims

$2 Million Boston Victims - Nearly a week 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. Crowdfunding raises $2 million for Boston victims; critics urge caution,

“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. $2 Million Boston Victims,

“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.

Read More At: usnews.nbcnews

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