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GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform that allows people to raise money for events ranging from life events such as celebrations and graduations to challenging circumstances like accidents and illnesses. [3] [4] The company is based in San Diego, California. [5] [6] GoFundMe has had numerous complaints filed against the company claiming that funds have not been disbursed to users when attempting to withdraw raised funds.


The company was founded in May 2010 by Brad Damphousse and Andrew Ballester. Both had previously founded Paygr which is a website dedicated to allowing members to sell their services to the public. [7] Damphousse and Ballester originally created the website under the name "CreateAFund" in 2008 but later changed the name to GoFundMe after making numerous upgrades to the features of the website. [8] [9] In June 2015, it was announced that Damphousse and Ballester had agreed to sell a majority stake in GoFundMe to Accel Partners and to step down from the day-to-day oversight of the company. The deal valued GoFundMe at around $600 million. [10]

Business model

GoFundMe allows users to create their own website to describe what they are raising money for. [3] During this process, members can describe their fundraising cause, the amount they hope to raise, and upload photos or video. [11] Once the website is created, GoFundMe allows users to share their project with people through integrated social network links (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and email. People can then donate to a user’s cause through the website using only a debit card or credit card (no PayPal) [12] and track the progress of their funding. Those who donate can also leave comments on the website in support of the project. GoFundMe generates revenue by automatically deducting a 5% fee from each donation users receive. If the user receives no donations, then no charge is made. [13] In addition to the 5% that GoFundMe deducts from each transaction, WePay collects 2.9% and $0.30 from each GoFundMe transaction.

GoFundMe is unique to crowdfunding in that they are not an incentive-based crowdfunding website. Although they do allow projects that are meant to fund other projects for musicians, inventors, etc., the business model is set up to allow for donations to personal causes and life events such as medical bills. [14] [15] [16] GoFundMe also has a special section dedicated solely to users who are trying to raise money to cover their tuition costs. [3] One of the most notable tuition projects involved helping a user raise $25,000 to pay out of state tuition to a PhD program after that user was selected among 125 applicants into that program. [17]

In 2015, GoFundMe announced that the site would no longer support legal defense funds on their platform. The news came after the site suspended funding for the defense of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a bakery that was fined for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. [18] NARAL, a pro-choice group, has criticized GoFundMe for banning the funding of abortions on their website. [19] [20]

Notable projects

Project Amount raised Notes Date
Save The North Bend Theatre $107,325 This independently owned movie theater in North Bend, Washington turned to its community to help fund the transition from film to digital projection. [21] March 14, 2013
Emily Scott's Dream 2014 Sochi $59,380 Emily Scott created this project to fund her trip to the 2014 Winter Olympics. The funds helped her get to Sochi to represent the US on the women's speed skating team. [22] [23] April 12, 2013
Plea to Save Grandpa's Home $137,008 When her grandfather was faced with eviction, Jaclyn Fraley decided to raise money to help him keep his house. Thanks to her efforts, Mr. John J. Potter was able to save his home of over 56 years. [24] April 15, 2013
Bucks for Bauman $809,310 This project was created for Jeff Bauman after he lost both legs during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. [25] [26] April 16, 2013
Celeste & Sydney Recovery Fund $795,985 Celeste and Sydney Corcoran were both victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Sydney suffered severe injuries as a result of being hit with shrapnel, and Celeste lost both legs below her knees. This campaign page was created for their ongoing rehabilitation. [27] [28] April 16, 2013
Build Barbara Garcia a Home $73,810 After losing her home during the 2013 Moore tornado in Oklahoma, Barbara Garcia was shocked to discover her dog among the wreckage in a live news interview. Moved by her story, Erin DeRuggiero of Minneapolis created this fund to build her a new home. [29] [30] May 21, 2013
Friends of Mark Patterson $117,417 Georgia native, Mark Patterson, sustained serious injuries while trying to save another woman's child during a fishing trip with his son. His injuries left him paralyzed from the neck down and eventually cost him his life. This page was created to fund a trust in his son's name. [4] June 12, 2013
Hope for Alexis $78,835 Jennifer Shapiro created this page for her daughter, Alexis. After being diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2011, Alexis developed hypothalmic obesity. This project is funding bariatric surgery to treat this rare eating disorder. [4] July 22, 2013
Khalil Shreateh - Facebook Bounty $13,125 Khalil Shreateh found a vulnerability in Facebook's website and, due to miscommunication, was not awarded a bounty for his work. This page was created to raise a bounty and increase awareness for the importance of independent research. [4] August 19, 2013
Christopher Lane Fund $171,705 After Australian athlete, Christopher Lane, was shot and killed in Oklahoma, Marshall Veal created a fund so Christopher's family could return his body to Melbourne. [4] August 19, 2013
Antoinette Tuff $111,911 In August 2013, Antoinette Tuff successfully talked down a shooter at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Georgia. Soon after, she set up a donation page for underprivileged children in inner city areas. [4] August 22, 2013
Boston Homeless Man Reward $160,182 In 2013, a homeless man by the name of Glen James found a backpack containing $40,000 and promptly turned the backpack in with all of its contents. When the owner of the backpack was reunited with his belongings, the story quickly made national news. This project was created to raise reward money for Glen James to start a new life. [4] [4] September 16, 2013
McCroskey Family Fund $101,350 This fundraiser was created to help the McCroskey family of Boulder, Colorado, after they lost their home in the 2013 Colorado floods. [4] September 16, 2013
Hope for a Home $410,011 After beating cancer twice, 22-year-old Melissa Smith was diagnosed with transverse myelitis leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Melissa's sister created this page to make Melissa's home handicap accessible. Melissa's story was featured on The Chive, and the majority of the money raised for this project was donated in the first 24 hours from other Chive users. [4] [4] October 8, 2013
Cecil Williams and Orlando $44,185 This page was created for Cecil Williams of New York City and his seeing eye dog, Orlando. When Cecil fell onto a train track, Orlando fought to pull his master to safety. When it was reported that Orlando became too old for insurance to continue covering his costs, this page was created to help Cecil keep his companion. [5] December 17, 2013
Save the Home of the King's Jubilee! $44,585 After 25 years serving food to Philadelphia's homeless population, Cranford Coulter found himself faced with his own eviction. As soon as word spread, the public quickly rallied to help him keep his home. [5] December 26, 2013
Save Fisher More $298,333 Faced with the closure of their school, the students of Fisher More College in Fort Worth, Texas created this page to keep their doors open. [5] January 8, 2014
Support Officer Wilson $183,259 of $250,000 (as of August 27, 2014) A page was set up to solicit donations in support of Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson, who in self defense shot and killed Michael Brown. Because of the controversial issues involved, many of the attached comments were considered highly racist and inflammatory. [5] August 27, 2014
Bailey's Abortion Fund $1,800 of $2,500 (as of September 5, 2014) A 23-year-old woman from Chicago asked for donations for her abortion as she was unemployed and claims she was having pregnancy complications. [5] September 5, 2014
mmsdefensefund $131,796 of $200,000 (as of May 27, 2015) Nominally a legal defense fund for a Mr Louis Daniel Smith who faced criminal charges in relation to him selling "MMS" ( Miracle Mineral Supplement). On May 27, 2015 Louis Daniel Smith was found guilty of fraud and other charges. [5] On May 31, 2015 the mmsdefensefund was removed from GoFundMe, (an archived copy is available). [5] December 17, 2014
Saving Eliza $2,025,540 (as of January 5, 2016) Saving Eliza is a campaign about Eliza O'Neill, a 5-year-old girl diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome. The campaign is funding research to stop the terminal and rapidly degenerative disease in children. Saving Eliza stood until 2016 as the most ever raised on GoFundMe for a single campaign. [5] April 18, 2015
Support The Grimmie Family $192,396 (as of June 26, 2016) American singer-songwriter Christina Grimmie was shot while signing autographs after a concert at The Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida, and later died of complications due to injuries. Grimmie's talent agency, LH7 Management, created a fund for the Grimmie family to assist in their time of need. [5] [5] June 11, 2016
Support Victims of Pulse Shooting $7,853,140 This fundraiser was created by Equality Florida to help the victims of a nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. [6] [6] It currently holds the record for the largest amount raised for a single cause on GoFundMe. June 12, 2016
Relief for Fidencio the Paleta Man $384,270 This campaign was created for Fidencio Sanchez, a Chicago 'Paleta Man', frozen popsicle salesman in the Little Village area. Joel Cervantes Macias saw 89 year old Mr. Sanchez struggling to push his cart down the sidewalk, so he stopped to buy some popsicles and learned that Mr Sanchez had gone back to work after the recent death of his daughter, who was the sole provider. This story got national attention and raised over $100,000 in the first 24 hours. September 13, 2016

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