Crowdfunding: Abusing the Kindness of Strangers
Crowdfunding: Abusing the Kindness of Strangers
Last year a homeless veteran helped a stranded motorist on I-95 in Philadelphia, by spending his last $20 on a can of fuel for her car. Kate McClure was so grateful, she worked to help Johnny Bobbitt – first with some food, clothing, and spare change, and then with a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe that raised more than $400,000 for the homeless drug addict. The kindness of strangers helped launch the modest campaign to give Bobbitt a fresh start, far surpassing the initial $10,000 goal. And that’s where things went wrong.
Accounts of what really happened to the more than $400,000 vary, depending on whom you believe.
The plan was to make the second act of Bobbitt’s life a successful one, and for a while, things seemed happy. Pictures showed Bobbitt at McClure and [her boyfriend Mark] D’Amico’s house at Christmas, posing next to the tree, wearing adult onesies and baking cookies.
In reality, things weren’t that rosy. Instead of a house, McClure and D’Amico got Bobbitt a camper, which they kept in their names and parked on land owned by D’Amico’s family, according to news reports. They bought him a television, a laptop and two cellphones, food and clothing – and a used SUV that was soon broken and idle.
What he didn’t get, though, was any type of ownership over the money raised on his behalf. He met briefly with a financial adviser, but there was never any lawyer or any trust, according to Philadelphia CBS affiliate WTVR. D’Amico said he kept $200,000 – what remained after buying the camper and the SUV and other expenses – in a savings account that he would gladly turn over to Bobbitt once he kicked an addiction to opioids and managed to hold down a job.
Bobbitt accused McClure and D’Amico of mismanaging the funds, and sure enough, the receptionist and carpenter all of a sudden got themselves a brand new BMW, a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, and lots of vacations to lots of nice spots like Vegas, Florida, and California.
The couple claimed Bobbitt had started using drugs again and decided to hold on to the money until he was sober, so it wouldn’t wind up in the hands of drug dealers.
But no matter who is telling the truth, the truth remains that crowdfunding has become just another way for people
to abuse the good will and sympathy of strangers. What started out is a way to supplement charitable giving, and help individuals who seemed desperate and at the end of their rope, has become a way for people to panhandle online to fund their hobbies, or dupe gullible morons into buying a dinner for indolent slobs, whose only wish was to move to Wakanda because TRUMP!
A friend once created a GoFundMe campaign for me and the kids when we ran into a rough patch after my divorce. I refused at first, but after several days of bugging me, she talked me into it because we had no money left to buy groceries. I told her we would accept the help, but once we were through the rough patch, whatever was left would go to charity, and that I would be 100 percent honest and transparent about where the money went. I did and I was. I even posted a copy of the receipt for the several thousand I gave to the charity of my choice once I no longer needed the funds. The money helped me get over the hump as a single mother with two kids working to start over, and I will be forever grateful to my friend for convincing me to take the charity.
Today, GoFundMe and similar sites have become online freeloading platforms for virtual hobos to rattle their tin cups and beg for help, or worse, intentionally scam people using sick children, sick pets, sick parents, etc.
The GoFundMe page for ostensibly the sister of racist, murdering scrotal pustule Dylann Roof to raise money for her wedding because her brother supposedly “tainted” her special day was taken down in 2015.
“Money raised will be used to cover lost wedding costs, to pay bills, and to send us on our dream honeymoon,” the administrator wrote on GoFundMe. “10% of all funds raised will be donated to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.”
And then, there’s the politics.
Good-hearted people in 2015 raised nearly $850,000 for the owners of a pizza joint who came under attack by social justice zealots for confirming that they would refuse to cater a hypothetical gay wedding – as if any self-respecting gay person would have a pizza joint cater their fabulous wedding!
And just a few weeks ago, within days of being fired, a GoFundMe page for biased, corrupt former FBI official Peter Strzok raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to covering his legal costs and his lost income – as if that swine, who acted improperly and whose actions reflected so poorly on his employer, that the Bureau had no choice but to fire him, somehow was entitled to a taxpayer-funded salary. It’s currently sitting at nearly a half a million dollars after less than two weeks.
Fools and their money…
Americans are a good, charitable people – some of the most charitable in the world – and they are passionate about supporting causes in which they believe. Unfortunately, the downside of that generosity is that people who simply want free shit at others’ expense take advantage of Americans’ kindness to fund their incompetence, greed, or delusions.
And while giving makes us feel good about helping others, GoFundMe and other platforms are also exploiting our benevolence and profiting from criminal scamming, the political passions of donors, and and just plain greed for a 5 percent profit of all funds raised.
I have helped several friends and friends of friends over the past few years who were in dire straits, hoping to pay forward the kindness of strangers when people banded together to help me during my hard times. Several hundred here and there, and I realized that at least several of the people whom I helped, and who claimed they just needed a little cash to get over a hump, are still rattling a tin cup on social media years later, hoping the kindness of strangers will support their lifestyle and help them live off others instead of finding work and supporting themselves.
I no longer help strangers.
A once good idea to allow kind folks to help their fellow men has turned into yet another way for leeches to exploit the kindness of strangers. It’s a damn shame.