Crowdfunding platform GoFundMe has confirmed that the fundraising campaign created for truckers protesting against the various COVID-19 mandates and restrictions across Canada is the country’s second-largest ever on its platform, with donations reaching over $10 million.
Coordinated by “Freedom Convoy 2022” organizers Tamara Lich and Benjamin Dichter, the fundraising campaign, which seeks to cover the costs of fuel, food, and lodging for the truckers, came in second behind the bus crash campaign of the Humboldt Broncos in 2018, CTV News reported on Feb. 1.
To date, $1 million have been released to the truck convoy organizers. GoFundMe said it will continue to work with the organizers to decide how the funds will be distributed.
“The trust and safety of our global community is our top priority. That is why we’re following our standard verification process and working directly with the campaign organizer to ensure the funds are distributed as stated by the organizer and in compliance with the law and our Terms of Service,” said a GoFundMe spokesperson in a statement to CTV News.
“Our goal is to protect the generosity of donors and ensure that all donations go to those intended. As part of our verification process, we require full transparency from the organizer about the flow of funds to ensure there’s a clear plan and donors are informed on how the funds will be spent.“
Lich commended GoFundMe in a tweet on Jan. 27, saying that the platform has helped to process the “very routine” and procedural paperwork to release the funds.
On Jan. 28, she issued a statement via Twitter, saying that the first batch of the funds had been released, while at the same time debunking reports by several media outlets that alleged GoFundMe had “frozen our funds for a variety of outrageous reasons.”
“In reality, the temporary hold was due to international banking regulations which dictate many of GoFundMe policies,” Lich said.
“It is common practice with GoFundMe to conduct this kind of due diligence to ensure the funds are legitimate.”
She also condemned activists who tried to smear the trucker convoy, which further complicated the release and dispersion of the funds.
“The constant attempts by activists to flag our campaign as illegitimate exacerbated the already tedious process,” she said.
But Lich said the distribution of the funds will come in time once the bottleneck is resolved.
“Initially, there will be a bottleneck because of the large number of requests we need to process, and because of payment processing times,” she said.
“Please [bear] with us as we are working as fast as we can to get this done.”