Orlando Fundraising Shatters GoFundMe Records

Photo by Michael Cushman.

More than 100,000 people have donated more than $5 million to two GoFundMe pages assisting the victims and their families of the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, which has claimed 49 lives so far and has left more than 50 others injured.

The main page, set up by Equality Florida, has raised more than $4.7 million as of 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.

“We are heartbroken and angry that senseless violence has once again destroyed lives in our state and in our country,” the page reads. “Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety. June commemorates our community standing up to anti-LGBTQ violence at the Stonewall Inn, the nightclub that has become the first LGBTQ site recognized as a national monument.”

That total includes a $100,000 from GoFundMe.

Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, was overwhelmed with the support.

“The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming. Tens of thousands of people from all over have sent the message that they are standing with Orlando and are here for the survivors and the families of those taken from us. We are working with the city of Orlando, our local partners and national organizations to get our community the help that is desperately needed. I know the solidarity is helping the slow healing process."

The GoFundMe campaign has raised the most money ever for a cause through the website, and hit $1 million less than 10 hours after going live.

A second page, set up by the LGBT center in Orlando, meanwhile has raised more than $371,000.

“We are saddened and shocked at the tragedy that took place Saturday night at Pulse Nightclub,” the page reads. “The Center is partnering with MBA, Hope and Help, Two Spirit Health, Zebra Coalition, Rollins, and various other GLBT organizations throughout Central Florida to provide an emergency hotline and crisis counseling.”

The funds from both sites will be used to pay for medical expenses, funeral arrangements and other costs.

As for why there are two separate pages.

“We are working together and will be pooling the money so it all gets to where it needs to be,” said Terry DeCarlo, Executive Director of The Center in Orlando. “Some people felt more comfortable donating directly to the GLBT Center than a political organization, but please let everyone know that we are working together and are going to look to start distributing the money today.”

In addition to those two GoFundMe campaigns Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer launched the OneOrlando Fund in response to the tragedy so far raising $2.5 million, which includes a $1 million donation from the Walt Disney Company.


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