Andrew Anglin and Pomidor Quixote
January 12, 2019
Brian Kolfage, creator of the GoFundMe campaign for the wall.
The GoFundMe for the wall failed to reach its goal and announced it will refund all donors.
A GoFundMe campaign to subsidize what it called “the Trump Wall” will refund all money to donors because it did not meet its $1 billion goal, said Bobby Whithorne, director of North America Communications for GoFundMe. Donors will receive their money on April 11, unless they choose to donate their contribution to the campaign creator’s new venture, GoFundMe said in an email to the campaign’s participants.
Brian Kolfage, a triple-amputee Air Force veteran, raised more than $20 million on the crowd-funding platform to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. At the onset of the campaign, Kolfage said he would only collect the funds if the campaign hit its goal of $1 billion — about one-fifth of what President Trump has been demanding from Congress to build it.
“However, that did not happen. This means all donors will receive a refund,” Whithorne said in an email to CBS News.
In an update to donors Friday, Kolfage did not say missing the goal was the main reason for the refund. Instead, he pointed to government inefficiencies and the fact that the federal government “won’t be able to accept our donations anytime soon.”
Kolfage gave donors the option of giving their GoFundMe contribution to himself and a team he assembled to privately construct the border wall. The group, a 501(c)(4), is called “We Build the Wall, Inc.,” according to an email from GoFundMe to contributors.
“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,” Kolfage wrote in his update.
Donors will have to proactively opt to give the money to Kolfage; if they do nothing the money will automatically be returned, according to Whithorne.
This wasn’t really intended to be a real GoFundMe campaign. It was designed to catch the attention of the media, to draw attention to the fact that people want the wall, and to presumably draw attention to this guy.
But a crowdfunded wall wasn’t a bad idea, it was actually a good idea that should have been implemented differently and way, way earlier.
Trump probably could have endorsed a private company to build the wall, and allowed them to use Patreon instead of GoFundMe to donate progressively to the project. I assume that would have been blocked by someone, but it would have been a hugely powerful publicity stunt.