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Crowdfunding Shows Collective Solidarity During Social Distancing

— April 20, 2020

Crowdfunding sites have seen a sharp spike in traffic amid COVID.

While many business owners of restaurants, clubs, bars, sports facilities, and other companies that require social gathering are struggling to make ends meet during these unprecedented times, certain websites have witnessed a sharp increase in traffic.  Unlike many end-of-days movies showing people desperately breaking into vacant businesses, pillaging and causing chaos, it seems the collective is more interested in helping those unable to make ends meet.  Crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe have skyrocketed in popularity as both those struggling and those willing to help are utilizing these online forums to support each other during the pandemic.

For example, the coronavirus threatened to make Endgame restaurant near Seattle close its doors for good.  So, the restaurant turned to GoFundMe for support, asking for at least $5,500 in donations in order to keep the lights on.  “All donations will go to expenses until we are able to resume normal operations,” Michael Lamere and Austin Sines said.  The funds received to date have exceeded this amount.

“The generosity we are seeing is rather incredible and unprecedented,” said GoFundMe chief executive Tim Cadogan.  Similarly, the crowdfunding platform Patreon “has seen more than two million individual donations to coronavirus-related efforts, amounting to about $120 million,” according to Cadogan.

Crowdfunding Shows Collective Solidarity During Social Distancing
Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Businesses are not the only ones turning to crowdfunding for support, either.  Healthcare professionals are asking for money to get necessary supplies, such as masks, gloves, and even Tylenol to manage pain for those hooked up to ventilators.  Frontline Responders Fund, started by the logistics firm Flexport, and other companies have collected more than $6 million to get critical supplies to those on the frontlines and those who have been diagnosed with the virus.

A Coronavirus Rent Relief Fund recently launched to raise funds for those left jobless and facing eviction has also seen some significant success.  “Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created one of the most difficult moments in world history, a moment we will surely look back on,” wrote the New York fund organizer, who, so far, has raised more than $220,000.

An Americas Food Fund at GoFundMe launched by Leonardo DiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Apple, along with the Ford Foundation, has raised more than $13 million for the effort.  And, one of the largest yet, The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization (WHO), managed by the UN Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, and launched to raise money in order to finance WHO’s response to the coronavirus, saw $71 million from 170,000 individuals and businesses within the first ten days.

“The mechanism is unprecedented for WHO,” said Kate Dodson at the UN Foundation.

Artists who rely on public gatherings at performances are also getting hit hard.  “More than 150,000 artists use Patreon to generate income by offering exclusive content to four million patrons in over 180 countries,” according to the platform.  Now, these artists are fundraising by offering virtual content that is exclusively available to members.

So, unlike what is typically depicted in Hollywood, the world has truly come together as ‘one’ during a time in which everyone has been forced to physically be apart, and crowdfunding efforts continue to lead the way in supporting the path to COVID recovery.


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