Chandler asks on GoFundMe vary widely

The Chandler Outlaws 7-and-under football team had little success on GoFundMe.com with its plea for $15,000 to get to the Florida Nationals. It raised only $140. (GoFundMe.com)

Christmas isn’t the only season for giving and spreading kindness.

For crowdfunding platforms, it’s a year-long activity – as it is for the largest and better-known GoFundMe.com. In Chandler alone, more than 1,000 people and groups have set up an account on that platform with requests for a broad range of activities, needs and wants.

Since its launch in 2010, the California-based GoFundMe has become the go-to online fundraising tool for charities and just about anybody who wants the public to help bankroll an expense.

Within minutes, someone can set up a money request on the global site. To date, the site has helped individuals and charities around the world to raise more than $25 billion, according to GoFundMe, which did not respond to questions for the story.

The requests for donations run the gamut from classroom supplies and Girl Scout projects to relief efforts for crisis events such as Hurricane Ian in Florida and the war in Ukraine.

The “Stand with Ukraine” fundraiser launched by actors Mila and Ashton Kutcher in partnership with GoFundMe is the platform’s second-largest campaign of all time, raising $37 million from 75,000-plus donors.

For 2022, there’s been a 110% increase in money raised for baby formula, a 60% increase for gasoline and a 10% increase for groceries, GoFundMe reported.

With a donation made every second, 28 million people so far this year have sent or received funding, the public nonprofit said.

Most requests in Chandler are for help with funeral expenses, memorials or medical bills such as a 4-year-old girl who was struck by a car.

Mike Ryan set up a Go Fund Me page for Shannon Ryan and her mother, Zoraleigh Ryan.

Shannon, a Hamilton High graduate. and her mother were struck by a vehicle in Chicago after celebrating her 20th birthday. Her mother died and Mike Ryan is asking for $5,000 to help Shannon get through her rehab.

Chandler resident Caitlin von Hagen asked folks to help her niece and her family and raised $11,828 of the $20,000 goal so far. The niece’s husband, Ben, was injured coming home from work on an electric skateboard.

They thought he would miss five weeks of work because of an infection to his injured knee. However, it looks like he won’t be ready to work until this spring.

According to GoFundMe, one in three fundraisers is started for someone else.

Another popular ask in Chandler is for animals – to help with things such as rescue efforts, medical expenses, fostering costs for horses saved from abuse and slaughter, and physical therapy costs.

Luigi is an 8-year-old shepherd/boxer mix. Amber Alfaro Ramirez and Adolfo Alanis of Chandler write that their internet provider’s technician left the gate open and Luigi escaped.

They began a search for the dog, but he was found by animal control after he was struck by a hit-and-run vehicle. They are asking for $8,000 to help pay for his surgeries. So far, they have raised more than $1,300.

Chandler resident Chrissy Fisher has raised $425 toward her $4,000 goal to help pay veterinarian bills for a dog named Kaito. The dog became sick in November and his owners took him to the pet hospital a couple of times to determine what was wrong, but never got an answer.

They did get the bills for those attempts. The many tests cost more than $4,000 and the most likely diagnosis they have received so far is it may be cancer.

GoFundMe said help for animals is one of its fastest growing categories and that there are more repeat donations made to these fundraisers than any other fundraising category.

To date, more than $50 million has been raised for dogs and cats with $1.8 million donated this year.

Education is another popular category.

Eric Gibbs Jr. is asking for help to pay his tuition at Justice College in Chandler. The Chandler resident said he lost his job in November. He’s a college athlete, so he can only work side jobs while balancing school and the team.

He asked for help on Dec. 23, and only a few days later had raised all $800 of his goal.

The color guard director for Basha High School is asking for help raising $10,000 to get padded protection for the gym floor so they can rehearse there.

Zeth Shirley said students have had to rehearse outside on uneven concrete, which has led to injuries. Shirley writes this is a long-term goal and they will keep raising money until they reach their goal. So far, they’ve raised about $1,800.

Additionally, GoFundMe’s received over $400,000 in donations to LGBTQ+ causes.

Hamilton High student Dawn Shim raised more than $1,600 of her $3,000 goal to cover expenses for the walkout her Support Equality AZ Schools group staged earlier this school year. They were protesting what they called anti-gay laws passed by the Legislature in 2022.

There’re also four requests to help pay for gender-reassignment surgeries, including one from a Chandler teen asking for $90 for a device to use a men’s bathroom.

A number of Chandler based sports teams and athletes are seeking money to help them compete.

Chandler Prep Academy swim coach Erin Biegel asked that a fund be established to help the athletes in the CPA program before she died last spring. They’ve raised about half of the $20,000 goal.

A less successful fundraiser was for the Chandler Outlaws 7-and-under football team, which was trying to raise $15,000 so they could compete in Florida at nationals. They only raised $140.

The 8U Diplomats football team were a little more successful, raising nearly $2,200 for their trip last month to nationals.

Some atypical requests include a fan of empanadas bought at the Chandler Farmer’s Market trying to raise enough money for the cook to open her own restaurant.

Maria Gorosito makes the dishes only on Saturdays to serve at farmers market, which the anonymous organizer said brought them back to their days as a missionary in Argentina.

So far, they’ve raised only $460 toward the $50,000 goal.

Chandler resident Anthony Valencia says he’s raising $5,000 to transfer his wrestling license to Mexico so he can compete internationally, possibly at the Olympic level. He competed in college at Arizona State. So far, he’s raised more than $1,600.

The online requests in Chandler go from needs to wants in some cases.

A Chandler woman is asking for $5,000 so she can go on a school trip to see the Eiffel Tower, as well as side trips to London and Italy. She’s raised $510 so far.

Some residents of the SunBird Golf Resort in South Chandler are trying to raise $10,000 to sue their homeowners association and have raised only $120 since Dec. 21.

Organizer Mark Lastovica says the money will go toward attorney fees, filing fees, court costs, etc. to initiate action to “right the wrong” over an alleged failure to fulfill its fiduciary duty.

The owner of two sober living homes in Chandler raised nearly $1,000 to give residents there a happy holiday, including gifts and food.

Some Chandler firefighters are having fun at a colleague’s expense. They started a fund “to keep Johnny handsome.” They write that he was injured while performing a routine firefighter task, and it has put his image and only contribution to the department at risk.

They say they have a team of plastic surgeons on stand-by once they get enough funds. So far they have raised $20 of the $100,000 they are asking for.

The global crowdfunding market is projected to almost triple by 2025, according to Fundly, another crowdfunding site. Other crowdfunding sites include Donorbox, Kickstarter, Crowdfunder, Indiegogo and a host of others.

Globally, $34 billion has been raised through these platforms, according to Fundly.

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