GoFundMe lets trucker convoy organizers access $1 million of more than $9 million raised
A crowdfunding campaign supporting the widely-publicized "freedom convoy" is a runaway hit, it seems, with nearly $10 million raised in little more than a week for Canadian truck drivers who are protesting federal vaccine mandates.
Now, as protesters and their supporters maintain a disruptive presence in Ottawa, the company used for raising said funds — GoFundMe — is allowing the truckers to actually use it.
Last week, with just under five million dollars through the "Freedom Convoy 2022" campaign, GoFundMe had announced that it would be temporarily withholding funds from the group pending a detailed statement from organizers about how the money would be spent.
"We require that fundraisers be transparent about the flow of funds and have a clear plan for how those funds will be spent. In this case, we are in touch with the organizer to verify that information," said a spokesperson for the crowdfunding platform on Tuesday last week.
"Funds will be safely held until the organizer is able to provide the documentation to our team about how funds will be properly distributed."
“GoFundMe, however, announced on Tuesday as news of the fast-grossing fundraiser spread that all funds raised to date would be temporarily frozen.” https://t.co/y2sPaaAHEI— S. Leuther 🧩 (@sleuth_4_truths) January 26, 2022
Organizers Tamara Lich and B.J. Dichter must have come up with a suitable spending plan for at least a portion of the cash between then and now, because GoFundMe has confirmed that it a cool milly was released into their hands.
"We have some great news to share with all of you! We have received confirmation that GoFundMe has released our first batch of funds and is initiating our first transfer. We can't thank you enough for your patience," reads an update published to the fundraising page on Thursday.
The update contends that the temporary hold was placed on the funds "due to international banking regulations," though GoFundMe itself maintains that the friction was caused by a lack of transparency.
"Our goal is to protect the generosity of donors and ensure that all donations go to those intended," said the company in a statement.
"As part of our verification process, we require full transparency from the organizer about the flow of funds to ensure there's a clear plan and donors are informed on how the funds will be spent."
Out latest update.— Tamara (@Tamara_MVC) January 28, 2022
Please be kind to one another and don't allow political agitators to bait you.
We are a #united Canada for the first time in a long time. #Freedom #Freedomconvoy2022 #TruckersForFreedom https://t.co/SNpw7ATHsJ
Organizers of the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser say that this first batch of funds will allow them to "start processing registration forms and remittances to drivers who need our support."
Beneficiaries are being told to expect a "bottle neck" due to the large number of requests and the length of payment processing times.
"As a reminder, these funds will first assist drivers of all semi trucks and direct support vehicles such as, pilot trucks and/or mechanic trucks in the convoys to Ottawa," reads the GoFundMe campaign.
"Please note that all submissions are not guaranteed, as this is dependant on how many registrations are received and how much is donated through the GoFundMe campaign."
With just under $9.2 million dollars raised (and counting) as of Monday morning, there seems to be plenty of money to go around, though it is not yet clear if and when organizers will recieve the rest of the cash raised.
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