Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Top 10 Biggest GoFundMe Campaigns Ever – Most Money Raised

The world can sometimes be an amazing place, full of beauty, charity and as the founder of the website in question, Rob Solomon puts it tikkun olam (Hebrew for repairing the world). One of those places, if you’re looking for a replenishment of your faith in humanity, is a site by the name of GoFundMe, which is a platform where people can ask for help and get it from people just like them. It can help with education to dealing with national disaster and anything in between. The site itself has seen a great deal of success, with a reported 1 in 5 people contributing to online fundraising, and much of that through GoFundMe. But what have been the biggest campaigns on the site with the most money raised and most impact given? Well, let’s take a look.

10. Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund  – $7.8 Million

This GoFundMe campaign was launched on behalf of the Nonprofit Legal Services of Utah in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths on the Navajo Reservation. Their mission? To help those living in the Hopi and Navajo communities.

As of May 2022, they’ve raised over $7.8 million and have spent the majority of that on bringing vital resources to the communities to help protect them from COVID-19. In fact, hundreds of volunteers have already provided food and water to more than 46,000 households.

For those who’d like to donate, you can visit the GoFundMe page here. For every $100, they will be providing a family of four with two weeks’ worth of food and personal protective equipment. Even a donation of $10 will help feed a family of four for an entire day.

9. Support Victims of Pulse Shooting – $7.8 Million

On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. 53 others were injured.

As the nightclub was hosting a ‘Latin Night’, most of the victims were Latino.

Not only was it the deadliest incident in the history of violence against LGBT people but it was also the deadliest terrorist attack in the US since 9/11.

In support, Equality Florida launched a GoFundMe with the proceeds going toward the victims, victims’ families, and others who were in the club at the time of the shooting.

With the help of nearly 12,000 contributors, they raised $7.8 million, which they have since collected and distributed to the victims’ families and survivors.

8. Frontline Responders Fund – $8.2 Million

The Frontline Responders Fund was established to fund Flexport.org’s frontline responders’ efforts. Launched in March 2020, their goal was to provide all frontline responders combating COVID-19 with critical supplies such as masks, gloves, and gowns.

By the time they closed donations in February 2022, they had raised over $8.2 million, which allowed them to make a direct impact on communities in over 40 countries around the world. In addition to delivering over 53 million units of relief supplies, they’ve also delivered millions of pounds of food to areas where food supply chains were severely impacted by Covid-19.

They’ve also partnered with UNICEF to transport 100 medication refrigerators to Venezuela for vaccine preservation.

7. Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund – $10.1 million

On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people—including 14 students and three staff members—and injuring 17 others, making it the deadliest high school shooting in US history.

In support of the victims, the Broward Education Foundation started a GoFundMe to provide financial support to the victims and families of the shooting.

With the help of more than 36,000 donors, they managed to raise more than $10.1 million. It was later decided that $400,000 would be given to each of the families who lost a loved one and $35,000 to $250,000 to each of those who were injured by gunshots. $1,000 to $2,500 would also be given to those present in the building and campus.

6. Las Vegas Victims’ Fund – $11.8 million

On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock unleashed a hail of bullets into the crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival. In total, 60 people were killed and more than 800 were injured, making it the deadliest mass shooting in US history. Paddock later killed himself in his hotel room. His motive is still undetermined.

Steve Sisolak, the Clark County Commission Chair, started a GoFundMe for the victims of the shooting and within just a few months, they had raised nearly $12 million.

The money was later collected by the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund Committee (a non-profit organization that was created to manage and distribute the funds) and distributed to the victims in March 2018.

5. Funds for Humboldt Broncos – $11.5 million

On April 6, 2018, a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos—a Canadian junior ‘A’ ice hockey team—collided with a semi-truck on Highway 35 in Saskatchewan. In total, there were 16 fatalities. The victims included ten players, two coaches, an athletic therapist, a broadcaster, a statistician, as well as the bus driver. The remaining 13 passengers received several injuries, most of which were serious.

The GoFundMe campaign was set up by a local woman, who’d hoped to raise money for the families of the victims and survivors. As donations started to pile up, the Humboldt Broncos Board of Governors took over.

In total, they raised more than $15.1 million CAD, which is equivalent to about $11.5 million. The money was later distributed after a court-supervised process. A $525,000 payout was given to each of the families who had lost a loved one and a $475,000 payout was given to each of the players who had been injured in the collision.

4. The Official George Floyd Memorial Fund – $14.7 Million

George Floyd was an African-American man who was murdered by a police officer after a store employee suspected that he might have used a counterfeit bill.

The GoFundMe campaign was started by his brother Philonise Floyd in June 2020, with the funds going toward his funeral and burial expenses, as well as lodging and travel for all court proceedings as the family continues to seek justice for George.

Since then, they’ve raised over $14.7 million—which is well over their target of $1.5 million—with donations from more than 500,000 individuals across 140 countries.

A separate GoFundMe has also been started to help provide for the needs of his daughter Gianna Floyd.

3. Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund – $24.2 Million

The ‘Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund’ was established in 2017. By the time they closed donations in 2019, they had raised more than $24.2 million for victims of workplace sexual misconduct.

If anything, the campaign’s success was partly due to the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements; they had encouraged thousands of individuals to donate to help those of sexual assault and harassment.

Thanks to the donations, TIME’S UP has been able to hold harassers and abusers accountable, along with the organizations that allowed these cases of harassment and discrimination to occur in the first place.

2. We Build the Wall – $25 Million

The ‘We Build The Wall’ campaign was started by US Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage in 2018; he had hoped to build private sections of the wall along the US-Mexico border.

With help from politicians and activists, he managed to raise more than $25 million dollars by mid-2020, which they used to build a 3-mile section of the fence. However, he was ultimately unable to meet their $1 billion goal. As a result, he offered all donors a refund.

What’s interesting, though, is that that’s not the whole story. Later that year, an indictment was unsealed charging Brian Kolfage, Timothy Shea, Andrew Badolato, and Steve Bannon with a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors by taking their funds illegally for personal use.

While Bannon was pardoned by the former president, the investigation is still ongoing.

1. America’s Food Fund – $45.1 million

America’s Food Fund was started by Leonardo DiCaprio and Laurene Powell Jobs in April 2020. Their mission was to ensure that every child, family, and individual has reliable access to food in the United States.

The campaign continued for over two years and by April 2022, they had raised more than $45 million, all of which went to Feeding America, World Central Kitchen, No Kid Hungry, Urban School Food Alliance, and Save the Children U.S.

As of 2022, it’s the largest GoFundMe campaign to have ever happened on the platform. While they’re no longer accepting donations, their team encourages individuals to continue working with these organizations to put a stop to hunger.

Cody Carmichael
Cody Carmichael
University graduate in Psychology, and health worker. On my off time I'm usually tinkering with tech or traveling to the ends of the globe.


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