April 18, 11:59 a.m. saw the closure of the Funds for Humboldt Broncos GoFundMe page, the second largest in GoFundMe history.
In 12 days, 142,030 people raised nearly $15.2 million for Bronco players and their families who have been impacted by the April 6 bus crash that claimed the lives of 16 organization members and injured 13 others.
Humboldt Broncos President Kevin Garinger announced the closure at an April 16 press conference saying that the world has responded to the tragedy with flowers, videos, text messages, emails, and both real and virtual hugs.
But they have also responded with unexpected financial support.
“When the supports had been offered, our organization had stated that thoughts and prayers has been all that has been required. But our world has done so much more than that.”
GoFundMe also donated to the page as well as waiving their five per cent service fee.
All of this was unexpected for Sylvie Kellington who started the GoFundMe to raise a couple thousand dollars.
“Who would have ever thought that it would reach worldwide?” asked Kellington.
With a population just shy of 6,000 people, the tragedy had a far reaching impact. Kellington says that a lot of people wanted to help. The GoFundMe page gave them a way to do that from wherever they were.
“A lot of people just related to everybody’s grief. What it did for me was you feel helpless and you want to do something. People donated because that’s how they felt they were helping.”
While she may have played a part in starting the page, Kellington says it was the people that made it such a success, including the thousands of people who donated what they could, no matter how small.
“I read a story about a man out in Newfoundland. He didn’t have much to give but he gave $20 anyways. It’s the little ones too that are so important and made a difference.”
Money raised from the page will be going into the Broncos Memorial Fund Inc., to address the needs of organization members and their families who have been impacted by the crash.
“An advisory committee is being established to make a recommendation for the allocation of these funds, which will be held in trust until that allocation occurs,” said Garinger at the press conference.
The organization is also dealing with funds coming in from other sources, such as donations and fundraising efforts that have not come through the GoFundMe page.
These funds will go into the HumboldtStrong Community Foundation.
“The mission of the HumboldtStrong Community Foundation will be to support Humboldt Broncos’ players, employees, families, and volunteers, as well as first responders and emergency services personnel, teams, athletes, related organizations and communities affected by the crash,” announced Garinger.