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‘GoFundMe’ effort ends; donors to wall campaign will get refund

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – An online effort to help pay for Pres. Donald Trump’s planned border wall is being retooled and officials with the company that manages “GoFundMe” will refund all donations to the campaign.

The GoFundMe account received national attention in recent weeks as donors pledged millions of dollars to the cause. It set a goal of $1 billion in total, which would have amounted to one-fifth of the $5 billion the president is seeking from Congress at the moment.

“Even if we get half, that’s half the wall. We can do this,” organizer Brian Kolfage, a triple amputee veteran, wrote on his verified GoFundMe page last month.

Kolfage had the idea about a year ago but decided to move forward because of “inaction from our politicians,” he told CNN via email. He said he was surprised by the amount of money he’s been able to raise.

But on Friday, several news organizations confirmed that the drive was being shut down and that GoFundMe would return contributions to it.

The pro-wall page noted: We have raised over $20 Million from 325,000 plus donors… (but) unanimously, we have all come to the conclusion that:

  • The federal government won’t be able to accept our donations anytime soon.
  • We are better equipped than our own government to use the donated funds to build an actual wall on the southern border.
  • Our highly experienced team is highly confident that we can complete significant segments of the wall in less time, and for far less money, than the federal government, while meeting or exceeding all required regulatory, engineering, and environmental specifications.
  • Our team strongly believes that we can complete our segments of the wall for less than half of the government’s estimated costs on a per mile basis.

Kolfage then said his group has formed a nonprofit corporation called “We Build the Wall, Inc.” to which donors could direct their support.

Earlier this week, BuzzFeed News reported that Kolfage had kept money raised by a previous GoFundMe effort that pledged to help wounded veterans.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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