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Entries in Fundraising (5)

Sunday
Apr212013

Online Fundraising Raises Money Quickly for Boston Bombing Victims

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- The recovery process for many victims of the Boston Marathon bombing will be slow, arduous and expensive. Numerous victims suffered severe injuries to their lower limbs, with multiple patients having one or more amputations.

But the victims will not be without financial help as they recover.

The public outpouring of support to Boston after the bombings has also translated monetarily, with millions of dollars in donations for victims already made. More than $10 million has been raised for the victims and their families through the One Fund Boston. More than $1 million more has been raised through individual online fundraising sites for victims.

The creation of the One Fund Boston was announced Tuesday by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The fund is designed to streamline donations into one account, which will then be divvied up to victims and their families.

"I am humbled by the outpouring of support by the business community and individuals who are united in their desire to help," Patrick said in a statement. "At moments like this, we are one state, one city, and one people."

Kenneth Feinberg, who also oversaw the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund and the victim funds for the Aurora, Colo., shooting, has been tapped to administer the project.

Multiple corporations have pledged to donate, including the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Bruins and Bank of America. Adidas has pledged to donate all profits from Boston Marathon merchandise to the fund.

While donations to the One Fund Boston are still coming in, it is unclear when the money will be distributed to victims and their families.

For immediate access to funds, family and friends of victims have started using online fundraising sites to help with mounting medical bills and other expenses. Websites such as GoFundMe.com and GiveForward.com allow users to raise money very quickly and are paid out at the end of the scheduled fundraising drive.

Brooke Gibbs used GoFundMe.com to raise more than $300,000 from 7,906 users in just three days for Jeff Bauman Jr. A graphic photograph of Bauman, who lost both of his lower legs in the bombing, made headlines after the attack.

"We want to help in every which way we possibly can to get Bauman back on track as soon as possible," Gibbs wrote in a post. "Medical bills are going to start rolling in, let's get a head start on helping out Bauman and his family!"

According to a study conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management in 2011, prosthetics are covered by 70 percent to 75 percent of employer-sponsored insurance plans. For those who are not covered by insurance, prosthetics can cost approximately $40,000 per limb.

Gibb's fundraising goal for Bauman is $1 million.

Alyssa Carter also used the site to create a page for Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, a mother and daughter injured the blast. Sydney and Celeste Corcoran were both standing near the finish line when the bombs went off. Celeste Corcoran lost both of her lower legs and Sydney Corcoran had shrapnel embedded in her legs.

"There is a long road ahead -- both physically and emotionally -- and we're hoping to relieve some of the financial burden by raising funds in their name," Carter said in a post.

The fundraising page for the mother and daughter had raised more than $450,000 from a goal of $750,000 as of Saturday.

On GiveForward.com, a dedicated Boston Support Page let users choose between supporting 13 families affected by the bombing. Collectively they have currently raised $719,957.

The sites also have staff members that watch the fundraisers and contact users to ensure the websites are not used to support scams. According to Nate St. Pierre, the director of communications at GiveForward.com, the website has cancelled about 20 attempted fundraisers.

Both websites deduct money from transactions, the website GoFundMe.com deducts 5 percent from every donation and GiveForward.com deducts 7 percent from every transaction.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov082012

Senate, House Races Boosted by Outside Money Lose More Than Win

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If the super-rich tried to buy Senate and House seats in this election, they didn't have much luck, at least when it came to some of the most expensive U.S. congressional races.

Wealthy millionaires such as casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, Donald Trump and Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg took advantage of the ability to contribute tens of thousands, even millions of dollars to congressional super PACs in 2012, with mixed results.

Of the 10 most expensive Senate races in the country, only three were won by the candidate who had the most well-heeled outside groups backing them, according to data from the Campaign Finance Institute analyzed by ABC News.

Preliminary results in the House seem to indicate no real advantage for the candidate with the outside money advantage.

Of the 46 races in 2012 where more than $2 million was spent, the candidate with the outside spending advantage lost 21 times and won 16 times, with nine races still outstanding by mid-afternoon Wednesday, according to the CFI data.

Take the Florida Senate race, which pitted incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson against Republican Rep. Connie Mack.

Super PACs supporting Mack spent $15 million backing his Senate bid, more than three times the spending by outside groups that supported winner Nelson. Taking all spending on the race into consideration -- candidate fundraising, party spending and outside groups -- Nelson was outspent by more than $4 million.

Mack lost the race despite the backing of several deep-pocketed Republican donors, including Adelson, who donated $2 million, and former managing general partner of the San Francisco Giants Peter Magowan, who donated $1,000 to a super PAC supporting Mack.

In both chambers, but especially the House, Democrats did more in 2012 to compete but not match the number of Republican races in which their candidate outspent their opponent.

The result might have been an effective "draw" in terms of how money affected some races, Michael Malbin of the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute said.

"The last time the independent spending totals significantly favored the Republicans, this time there was more of a party balance," Malbin said.

Although the sheer amount of money that poured into each House race didn't come close to the amounts spent in the Senate, House candidates in some cases were effectively dwarfed by their opponents' outside money advantage.

Outside groups spent more than $5 million working to elect Illinois GOP Rep. Joe Walsh, compared with the $500,000 spent by opponent Tammy Duckworth's outside allies. Coupled with Walsh's campaign's fundraising, the added cash gave him a nearly $3 million advantage over Democrat Duckworth, who won comfortably.

In Colorado's sixth district, Republican Mike Coffman was outspent 7-to-1 by outside groups supporting Democrat Joe Miklosi, who lost the race despite $1.9 million spent on the effort by outside groups.

The amount of money spent did match the outcome of the race in at least three big races in the Senate, however.

Endangered Missouri Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill outspent her opponent, embattled Rep. Todd Akin, by close to $1 million and eventually pulled out a win, although arguably more because of Akin's abortion comments than her own campaigning.

In this election, the Campaign Finance Institute's Malbin said, the money still mattered, but only to a point.

"Once you have substantial amounts of money on both sides and both candidates are well known in their districts," he said, "then the incremental effect of more money goes down."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb232012

Who Pays for Obama's Campaign Trips?

TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- President Obama jets to Florida on Thursday for a mix of official and political business that will steal some headlines in the Sunshine State and line his campaign coffers with at least $4 million.

The act of presidential piggybacking -- coupling official duties, in this case a speech on the economy, with political fundraising -- was not pioneered by Obama but is prominently on display this year.

Obama has taken four trips outside Washington, D.C., since Jan. 1, including 18 re-election fundraisers interspersed with various activities related to his duties as president. Most recently, Obama concluded a three-day, three-state swing when he attended eight fundraisers and two official events.

The president's jet-setting has drawn the usual criticisms from his political opponents but also raised the curiosity and questions from taxpayers about who bears the sky-high costs.

Official presidential travel has traditionally been paid for by taxpayers as part of executive branch operations, while political trips and events are to be covered by a candidate's campaign committee. On the occasions that they mix, the costs are to be split.

As a rule of thumb, an incumbent president's campaign is expected to reimburse the government the cost of a first-class commercial airline ticket for each person riding Air Force One to or from a political event, campaign finance experts say.

But that amount doesn't come close to covering the proportional operating cost of Air Force One, or the army of Secret Service agents, White House advance teams, the fleet of Air Force cargo planes transporting the presidential motorcade or the helicopters that often ferry the president from an airport to a remote site.

Air Force One – known in the military as VC-25 – costs $179,750 per flight hour alone in fiscal year 2012, Maj. Michelle Lai of the 89th Airlift Wing told ABC News.

That figure includes fuel, flight consumables, depot level repairs, aircraft overhaul and engine overhaul. Pilot and airmen salaries are not included because they are paid regardless of the plane's use, Lai said.

Obama's trip to Florida and back Thursday will cost at least $674,000 in Air Force One flight time alone.

His three-day, three-state swing that included two official events and eight fundraisers, netting more than $8 million last week, incurred flight costs of $2.1 million, based on the Air Force figure and flight times gathered from press pool reports.

As for how the proportion of that bill is broken down for Obama campaign to pay, experts say the law is murky and the practice of reimbursement is somewhat "on your honor."

"At the end of the day the Federal Election Commission has not been abundantly clear about how the costs of mixed purpose travel should be paid for," said Paul Ryan, an expert in FEC law with the Campaign Finance Institute. Ryan said a recent advisory case involving Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who wanted to attend fundraisers while traveling on a publisher-paid book tour, illustrates the lack of clarity in this area of election law.

The FEC deadlocked on the question of whether Brown's campaign committee had to foot any of the travel costs, with the panel's Republican members insisting that Brown shouldn't have to pay any at all.

"The rationale was that he was going to the cities principally for the book tour, and he would be there regardless of whether or not he was holding a fundraising event," Ryan said. "They believed that fact he tacked on a fundraising event didn't trigger a recharacterization of the travel.

"I think the same analysis would apply to Barack Obama's travel," he said.

The Obama campaign has reimbursed more than $1.5 million for travel so far this election cycle, according to FEC records.

White House press secretary Jay Carney explained last week that the administration follows all guidelines and precedent for mixed purpose presidential travel, often "consolidating" events on long-range trips to maximize the value.

"We do it absolutely by the book -- in the same manner that President Bush did, President Clinton did," Carney told reporters on Feb. 16.

After a speech on his 2013 budget proposal at the University of Miami, Obama will attend three fundraisers for his re-election campaign.

All proceeds benefit the Obama Victory Fund, a joint account of the Democratic National Committee and president's campaign.

Obama's Florida fundraisers raise his total for the year to 28, including events in Democratic-strongholds of Illinois, New York and California. Combined, Obama has logged more than 10,000 flight miles this year on trips that have included fundraisers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul222011

Wall Street Elites Open Wallets for Obama, DNC

Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- One year after President Obama signed into law the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. financial system since the Great Depression, support for his re-election among some Wall Street elites remains strong.

Eighty wealthy and well-connected volunteer fundraisers, or bundlers, from the financial sector have together raised at least $11.8 million for Obama’s re-election campaign, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan government watchdog.

Individuals working in finance, insurance or real estate markets contributed roughly one-third of all money raised by Obama’s 244 bundlers -- more than any other industry -- the Center found.

Nine of the 27 financiers, who each brought in more than $500,000 during April, May and June, have been tied to the financial industry.  They include former Goldman Sachs CEO Jon Corzine; Evercore Partners executive Charles Meyers; Greenstreet Real Estate Partners CEO Steven Green; and former UBS executive Blair Effron.

The findings contrast an erosion of support for Obama among employees of Goldman Sachs, who were once among his top financial backers. They donated overwhelmingly to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the second quarter, a computer-assisted analysis of the FEC data by Bloomberg found.

Some financial sector employees have been rankled by the 2010 financial overhaul because it imposed stiff new rules on banks, added regulation of hedge fund managers and limits on some executives’ bonuses, among other things.  Mr. Romney opposes the law.

The Obama campaign voluntarily released all the names of its bundlers last week, providing an estimated range of their contributions, which total at least $35 million.  No Republican candidate has done the same, breaking with a precedent of transparency set by President George W. Bush.  

During the entire 2008 presidential campaign, financial sector bundlers raised at least $16.1 million for Obama, according to CRP.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar312011

Charities Turn to Twitter to Boost Fundraising

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It has been a tough few years for charities. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the 50 top philanthropists gave $3.3 billion to charity in 2010, the lowest amount recorded since the Chronicle began tracking donors in 2000.

But that doesn't mean the organizations aren't always looking for new ways to approach donors.

Enter 'Twestival' -- a fundraising event on Twitter that has become the biggest global grassroots charity event organized through social media.

More than 150 cities across the world participated this year. Each city selected one local charity, and then received a Web page from FirstGiving, an online peer-to-peer fundraising tool.

'Twestival' brings the buzzing Twittersphere offline and onto a physical location -- a fairground, skating rink, park -- for a single day to highlight a community cause. This year, it was March 24, with donations accepted through March 31 on the website. As of Thursday, they had raised more than $550,000 for more than 150 local nonprofit causes.

Twestival originally started off as a single event in London in 2008, under the direction of founder Amanda Rose (also known as @amanda).

In 2009, it expanded to events in 133 cities in support of 135 local charities. Last year, it quickly transformed into a global movement with events in over 175 cities while also raising over $400,000 for the international humanitarian organization Concern Worldwide.

In the months leading up to the March 24 event thousands of Twitter users spread the word. A 24-hour Twestival livestream supported organizing teams around the world, setting a world record for the most charities supported by a live Internet broadcast. At the stroke of midnight on Thursday March 24, an influx of tweets with the hashtag #twestival flooded the Twitter stream.

Twestival founder Amanda Rose tweeted at 2:30 a.m., "Two and a half hours into @Twestival and our global fundraising total is already $215,840.13!!!"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio