Floridians and others are stepping up generously with contributions to Equality Florida’s crowdfunding campaign to assist victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting and their loved ones.
By Monday afternoon, about 24 hours after the GoFundMe page for the Pulse Victims Fund was set up, it had raised $2.5 million, far exceeding its initial goal of $100,000, which was subsequently increased to $1.5 million and then to $3 million. More than 58,000 people have contributed so far.
“Our community is reeling from this senseless act of violence, but the generosity of our neighbors, fellow Americans, and the global community continues to remind us that love and compassion will and must prevail,” Equality Florida development officer Ida Eskemani said in an email to The Advocate.
“We hope to alleviate medical costs and costs associated with funeral arrangements for all victims and their families,” she added.
Explaining the speed with which the campaign was set up Eskemani noted, “Following the news of the shooting, Equality Florida was inundated with messages from our supporters asking how they can help the victims of this horrific hate crime. We decided it was critical to launch a fundraising campaign immediately so that folks could contribute. We decided to use the GoFundMe platform, as it is one that folks are familiar with, is secure, and easy to use.”
“Every penny raised will be distributed directly to the victims and their families,” the crowdfunding page reads. Equality Florida is working with attorneys and other experts, including the National Center for Victims of Crime, to assure that the funds are disbursed quickly and correctly. The center helped distribute funds raised for those affected by the mass shootings in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Aurora, Colo.
Victims and families seeking financial assistance should contact the VictimConnect Resource Center to begin the process, Eskemani said. The phone number is (855) 484-2846) and the website is VictimConnect.org.