Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Border wall GoFundMe campaign to refund donations after missing goal

Border wall GoFundMe campaign to refund donations after missing goal

Money raised by a GoFundMe campaign started by Brian Kolfage, a triple-amputee Air Force veteran, that was meant to raise $1 billion for a wall along the US-Mexico border will be refunded to donors upon request, after the online cash aggregate noted that contributions fell staggeringly short of the intended goal.

On Friday, Brian Kolfage, who created the fundraiser, updated the campaign's GoFundMe page, urging donors to redirect their donations to a new 501 (c)(4) non-profit Florida Corporation named We Build the Wall, Inc. The campaign, titled "We The People Will Build the Wall", raised $20 million from 337,518 people in 25 days, and has been shared almost 100,000 times.

Kolfage has set up a fundraising goal of $1 billion to help pay for a physical barrier along the southern border.

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The creator, Brian Kolfage, a triple-amputee Air Force Veteran, raised more than $20 million to contribute to building the wall.

"However, that did not happen", he said.

However, the more than 339,000 contributors now have the option to either receive a refund or to forward their donation.

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That didn't stop Kolfage as he now created the private nonprofit 501 (c) 4 called "We Build the Wall, Inc" to make sure the wall would get built, but donators "must proactively elect to redirect their donation to that organization. We will promptly refund your donation unless you tell us you approve our new plan for action", he said via GoFundMe in a January 11 update.

Kolfage also issued an update via the GoFundMe page, using bullet points, and it stated that the federal government won't be able to accept their donations in the near future.

Among the group of "experts" listed on the GoFundMe page are Erik Prince, an American businessman known as the founder of the security firm Blackwater (he is also Betsy DeVos' brother), Sheriff David Clarke, the former Milwaukee County sheriff known for his controversial views on immigration, and frequent Trump campaigner Steve Ronnebeck, whose 21-year-old son Grant was murdered by an undocumented immigrant in 2015. Kolfage raised $16,246 for a veteran mentorship program, but BuzzFeed News reports that after collecting the funds, he didn't use the money as promised: none of the partners he claimed to have worked with - including Walter Reed, Brooke Army Medical Center and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany - have any records that Kolfage worked with their patients or donated money, according to representatives at the centers that BuzzFeed News spoke to. The money will be automatically returned if they do not, said Whithorne. It quickly went viral and has amassed more than 338,000 donors. Soon after, reports followed of Kolfage's previous endeavours, which included stints running conspiracy-theory websites and a related Facebook page that was kicked off the platform in October.

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