One of the nicer things about the Internet is that when something terrible happens, instead of wringing our hands and wishing fruitlessly out loud for something, anything to do, we can actually do something.
GoFundMe has emerged as one of the go-to responses to tragedies that befall communities or families, or even individuals. The website released its top 16 largest campaigns of 2016, and the list includes …
1. The Largest GoFundMe ever: Started by Equality Florida, this GoFundMe raised nearly eight million dollars for the victims of the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Another GoFundMe for victims of the of the Pulse shooting, started by local Orlando LGBT organization The Center, raised an additional $561,607.
2. The largest ever GoFundMe in the U.K.: When British MP Jo Cox was murdered, her friends and family created this charity to raise funds for her three favorite charities, driving up donations of $2.4 million.
3. Standing Rock: Three of the year’s most successful campaigns went to North Dakota. One that funneled $2,975,372 to protesters since April; another solely run by Veterans has raised over $1.14 million and a third, a medical fund for protester injured while at Standing Rock, Sophia Wilansky, has raised $422,939.
4. Star Power: Two GoFundMe campaigns started by celebrities cracked the top 10. HBO’s Issa Rae started one to raise funds for Alton Sterling’s family, and Brad Paisley started another for residents of West Virginia after the state was ravaged by floods over the summer.
5. Relief for the Ice Cream Man: Fidencio the popsicle vendor for Chicago got a whopping retirement payout — $384,260 — when his story spread far beyond the Windy City.
GoFundMe also released some geographical findings. The most generous U.S. cities are N.Y.C., Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Austin — meaning they donate the most to each campaign — while the top fundraising cities — where the most campaigns are established — are Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Antonio and Las Vegas.