Border wall GoFundMe to refund $20M; donors have 2nd option
GoFundMe said Friday that it would be returning more than $20 million in donations meant to help finance the “Trump Wall” between the United States and Mexico after the effort fell short of its $1 billion goal. But the campaign’s organizer said donors can redirect their contributions to a nonprofit that plans to begin work on portions of its own border wall — with or without help from the government.
The viral campaign was launched last month by 37-year-old Brian Kolfage, a triple amputee who received a Purple Heart while serving in Iraq. His concept was simple: If each of the 63 million people who voted for Trump gave $80, they could reach his $5 billion mark. He felt $1 billion would be a good starting point, he added.
On Friday, however, Kolfage updated the page to say organizers had concluded that the federal government wouldn’t be able to accept the donation, which had grown to more than $20 million. Instead, he created a Florida-based nonprofit named “We Build the Wall, Inc.” to take on the contributions.
“We are better equipped than our own government to use the donated funds to build a ... wall on the southern border,” Kolfage wrote on the page.
The partial government shutdown, spurred by President Donald Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion for the wall, became the longest in history over the weekend. Kolfage told The Washington Post on Saturday that he realized the Democratic-controlled House was unlikely to pass a bill approving construction of the wall, hindering his plans to give the money directly to the Trump administration.