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Las Vegas Victims’ Fund creates new record for GoFundMe

Updated December 12, 2017 - 7:45 pm

The Las Vegas Victims’ Fund campaign has set a GoFundMe record.

The campaign has raised more than $11.6 million.

The largest previous GoFundMe campaign was one last year that raised just over $7.8 million to support victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. That campaign is now the second-largest ever for the site. A spokesman for GoFundMe did not return a request for comment asking for information about the third most successful campaign.

An annual GoFundMe report shows 11,776 campaigns have been started in Nevada this year, and 248,991 people in Nevada have donated to at least one campaign. Figures for previous years were not available, as a spokesman from GoFundMe did not return a request for comment.

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo set up the GoFundMe crowdfunding account for victims and their families early on Oct. 2, just hours after the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

“We have a very generous spirit of giving in the community, and that was seen following the Oct. 1 tragedy,” said Julie Murray, principal and CEO of the Las Vegas-based Moonridge Group, a consultancy that helps guide philanthropists and nonprofits.

Speaking about the culture of philanthropy in Las Vegas, she said businesses and people of every age and background provided support.

“Las Vegas is an active philanthropy community, considering that currently there is over $1 billion of nonprofit campaigns occurring, and many of those fundraising needs are being met.”

Victims and families won’t be getting the entire $11.6 million, though.

The GoFundMe platform charges a 5 percent fee, and payment processors take 2.9 percent, along with 30 cents per donation.

GoFundMe spokeswoman Katherine Cichy said in October that the site has donated $150,000 to the fund and that “standard fees remain in place for online donations,” but “standard fees” do not apply to offline donations, in the form of cash or checks.

Cichy did not return repeated requests for comment asking for the share of online and offline donations.

There have been 88,021 donations to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund GoFundMe campaign as of Friday. A review of the 1,000 largest donations that have come in so far show that 17 totaling about $4.5 million have been made offline.

Assuming that 7.9 percent plus 30 cents per donation is deducted from the rest of the money, that means slightly more than $11.1 million is left for victims and their families, while GoFundMe and credit card processors eat up nearly $600,000 combined.

The campaign will be consolidated with other fundraising efforts. The Las Vegas Victims’ Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was established in October to oversee the consolidation and distribution of donations. The nonprofit will consolidate money from its own fund, as well as the National Compassion Fund Las Vegas, which is managed by the nonprofit National Center for Victims of Crime, and the Direct Impact Fund, an independent, registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit group associated with GoFundMe.

About $17 million has been raised for victims of the Oct. 1 shooting as of Thursday, lagging behind fundraising efforts in the aftermath of other tragedies.

Contact Nicole Raz at nraz@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @JournalistNikki on Twitter.

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