The GoFundMe account collecting money for victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting on October 1 in front of Mandalay Bay has received more than $11.7 million in donations, a new record for the fundraising platform, but more than two months after the tragedy, not a cent has made its way into any of the victims’ or victims’ families’ hands.
Over 88,000 donations have been made to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund, with the current pot holding $11,704,366. The number smashes GoFundMe’s previous all-time mark of $7.8 million, which came after the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in 2016.
The Las Vegas fundraiser will remain active “at least through January 31, 2018,” according to a recent campaign update. In addition to the online money, $4.4 million has been collected offline through cash and checks.
While the support for the hundreds of victims impacted by the October 1 events will bring eventual financial aid to help offset varying costs incurred, the GoFundMe account is also generating much controversy.
Some believe Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak (D) has received far too much press for setting up the fundraiser page, and is using the spotlight to promote his own gubernatorial campaign. How the funds will be allocated has also come under criticism, along with the lengthy process for applying, when many victims’ lives were turned completely upside down by the horrific event.
A non-profit group called the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund Committee (LVVF) has been organized to oversee the daunting task and decide who qualifies as a victim outside of the most obvious.
The LVVF consists of 17 volunteer members, with representatives from Metro Police, Clark County, major donors, UNLV, and the casino industry. Executives from Boyd Gaming, The Wynn Foundation, South Point, and the UFC are all on the committee.
“While we know financial gifts cannot erase the traumatic impacts of this tragedy, we hope such gifts can be a symbol of the love and support shared by thousands around the world, and help the victims and their families in some way,” the LVVF mission statement reads.
The prioritization of claims, according to the committee’s distribution draft, will begin with individual death claims and those who suffered brain damage and/or permanent paralysis. After those are paid, the committee will then consider individual physical injury claims for those who were hospitalized.
With 58 dead victims, and 546 others injured, the $16.1 million will have to stretch a long way.
One 37-year-old who was shot in the arm and had to have surgery to remove the bullet, told the Huffington Post she’s already been told there won’t be money for her. “They’re basically saying, ‘You’re not a big enough victim,” Jasara Requejo explained.
The Las Vegas GoFundMe account won’t only benefit victims, as the crowdfunding platform itself is also set to make bank. GFM deducts a five percent fee on all donations, which means the site is standing to collect more than $585,000 as of today.
Amid an outcry of people asking for GFM to suspend their fees this time, the website recently announced that its platform fee would be removed for US campaigns beginning on November 1 or later, meaning they will not be returning the more than half-million dollars earned on this campaign to any of the victims, like Requejo.
Since November, a 2.9 percent credit/debit card processing charge, plus a $0.30 per donation fee, remains.