AG pairs with site to ver­ify do­na­tions

Gofundme launches ver­i­fied do­na­tion hub for vic­tims’ fam­i­lies

Albany Times Union - - FROM THE COVER - By Emily Masters

Pop­u­lar fundrais­ing site Gofundme launched a cen­tral­ized hub Fri­day for all ver­i­fied cam­paigns ben­e­fit­ing the fam­i­lies of the 20 peo­ple killed in the Schoharie limou­sine crash.

The move was an­nounced by state At­tor­ney Gen­eral Bar­bara D. Un­der­wood, whose of­fice asked Gofundme to take the step in or­der “to en­sure do­na­tions are, in fact, go­ing to ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the vic­tims.”

“New York­ers are heart­bro­ken by the Schoharie tragedy — and are ea­ger to sup­port the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies as they deal with this un­fath­omable loss. We’re grate­ful to Gofundme for part­ner­ing with our of­fice ... so that New York­ers can rest as­sured that their do­na­tions will in­deed sup­port the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies,” Un­der­wood said in a news re­lease.

Daniel Gor­don, a Gofundme vice pres­i­dent, said the com­pany guar­an­tees money do­nated to cam­paigns listed on the cen­tral­ized hub will go to the right peo­ple.

“We have re­viewed all the re­lated Gofundme cam­paigns and are work­ing with all par­ties to en­sure the money goes di­rectly to the vic­tims and sur­viv­ing fam­ily mem­bers of this tragedy,” Gor­don said.

The 12 cam­paigns listed on the ver­i­fied hub had gath­ered more than $350,000 in do­na­tions as of 1:30 p.m. Fri­day.

The ver­i­fied list is avail­able at: cause/schoharie-crash.

“It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that when a Gofundme is cre­ated on be­half of an­other in­di­vid­ual, the funds are only re­leased to the per­son in­tended as the ben­e­fi­ciary and the Gofundme or­ga­nizer does not have ac­cess to the funds,” Gor­don said.

New York­ers are urged to con­sult the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s char­i­ta­ble giv­ing tips be­fore mak­ing any do­na­tions. Here is some of the ad­vice:

■ Use char­i­ties­ to ver­ify the char­ity is le­git­i­mate. Check Pen­nies for Char­ity to ver­ify how a char­ity uses do­nated funds.

■ You can also ver­ify in­for­ma­tion us­ing Char­i­ty­watch, Bet­ter Busi­ness Bu­reau Wise Giv­ing Al­liance, Guidestar and Char­ity Nav­i­ga­tor.

■ Give to es­tab­lished char­i­ties you’re fa­mil­iar with, and be cau­tious with tele­phone or text mes­sage so­lic­i­ta­tions. Don’t re­spond to un­so­licited emails.

■ Check the do­nat­ing web­site to be sure your con­tri­bu­tion will go di­rectly to the char­ity, not the per­son rais­ing the funds.

■ Never give cash. Do­nate money by credit card or check made payable to the char­ity.

■ Avoid shar­ing credit card or per­sonal in­for­ma­tion over the phone or via text mes­sage.

■ Re­port any­thing sus­pi­cious to the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Char­i­ties Bu­reau at char­i­­plaints@ or 212-416-8401.

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