Charitable crowdfunding company GoFundMe announced today plans to reward $10,000 to the GoFundMe company that raises the most money to help with Flint, Michigan’s current water crisis. The contest starts today and ends on January 29 at 6 PM PST.
For those of you who might e unfamiliar with the ongoing water problem in Flint, here’s a quick rundown. In April 2014, Flint officials switched the city’s water source from the Detroit River to Flint River to save money for the city, whose financial problems were described as “massive” in 2012 by its emergency manager. In late September 2015, children in Flint tested for increased levels of lead after complaints about the water quality from as far back as early 2014. Earlier this month, President Obama declared the crisis a state of emergency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency order deeming Flint’s response to the water crisis as “inadequate to protect human health.” Flint reconnected to the Detroit water supply three weeks later, but reports claim the water is undrinkable for more than 100,000 people.
GoFundMe’s initiative may spur more donations, but the donations were flowing well before. As of press time, 61 GoFundMe campaigns have collectively generated $183,770 from a total of 4,543 donors. The current leading campaign is “Bottles For Babies” created by Lanice Sparkle Lawson, a registered nurse, on September 28. The campaign has so far delivered nearly 20,000 bottles to children, the elderly, and mentally ill. The campaign has raised $41,699 of its $50,000 goal from 800 people.
GoFundMe has become one of the central hubs for online activism funding in recent years, for better or worse. Darren Wilson, a former Ferguson police officer, shot and killed 18 year old Michael Brown in August 2o14 and a GoFundMe page was set up to help fund his possible legal defense. The campaign, ran by non-profit Shield of Hope, raised a whopping $234,000 in four days. The GoFundMe page set up to support Mike Brown’s family only raised $168,000 in nine days.
The winning GoFundMe campaign for Flint Michigan’s water crisis will be chosen on February 3.