Over three weeks ago, Purple Heart recipient and triple amputee Brian Kolfage looked to weigh into the debate of how the border wall along the United States-Mexico border would be funded by starting a fundraiser of his own.
After nearly 340,000 people donated to a GoFundMe account called “We The People Will Build The Wall,” the platform has announced it will be refunding the donors.
The refund accountment comes as the fundraiser topped $20 million—1/50th of its goal of $1 billion.
Kolfage shared the news of the refund with the donors, saying their donations could be redirected to another fund where it could still be used.
From the Hill:
GoFundMe said Friday that it would refund $20 million raised by more than 300,000 donors for President Trump‘s border wall after an account aiming to raise $1 billion for the wall changed part of its campaign.
Brian Kolfage, the veteran who created the account last month, originally pledged that “every single penny” would be refunded if the original goal had not been met. He updated the page on Friday, saying that the federal government would not be able to accept the $20 million soon.
While Kolfage said money donated to the original campaign would go to the government to fund a border wall, he wrote Friday that he has since formed a nonprofit corporation in Florida named “We Build the Wall, Inc.” to receive the GoFundMe contributions.
“We are better equipped than our own government to use the donated funds to build an actual wall on the southern border,” Kolfage wrote in his address to the donors, as the Hill reports. “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.”
“To honor the commitment, we made to our donors; all funds raised, less the processing fees and refunds, will be transferred to a special purpose account to carry out the purposes and mission of We Build the Wall, Inc.,” Kolfage continued in the statement. “I will personally not take a penny of compensation from these donations.”
The Hill reports that GoFundMe spokesperson Bobby Whithorne said the refund is in compliance with the original mission statement of the fundraiser:
“When the campaign was created, the campaign organizer specifically stated on the campaign page, ‘If we don’t reach our goal or come significantly close we will refund every single penny,’ ” Whithorne said to the Hill, per the report. “He also stated on the campaign page, ‘100% of your donations will go to the Trump Wall. If for ANY reason we don’t reach our goal we will refund your donation.’ ”
“However, that did not happen. This means all donors will receive a refund,” the spokesperson continued. “If a donor does not want a refund, and they want their donation to go to the new organization, they must proactively elect to redirect their donation to that organization. If they do not take that step, they will automatically receive a full refund.”