GoFundMe border wall campaign raising millions, rival ‘ladders’ effort trending

The issue of a wall along the US-Mexico border has spawned opposing GoFundMe campaigns. 

Herika Martinez/Techhnews

A GoFundMe campaign wants to raise at least $1 billion to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, and it’s already become a hot page on the site. It’s also sparked an opposing campaign that’s trending.

The pro-wall campaign, called “We the People Will Fund the Wall,” was launched by veteran Brian Kolfage. At the time of publication, it’s raised more than $7 million in three days, and the total is rising quickly. 

During the 2016 US presidential campaign, President Donald Trump pledged to build the border wall and have Mexico pay for it, which the Mexican government has said it won’t do.

“If we can fund a large portion of this wall, it will jump-start things and will be less money Trump has to secure from our politicians,” Kolfage wrote on the GoFundMe page. “If the 63 million people who voted for Trump each pledge $80, we can build the wall. That equates to roughly 5 billion dollars.”

It’s unclear whether the government would be able to accept the funds, but Kolfage says on the fundraiser page that “the government has accepted large private donations before,” pointing to a situation in which a billionaire donated $7.5 million to fund repairs on the Washington Monument. 

“We the People Will Fund the Wall” is already among the most successful GoFundMe campaigns of the year. These include the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which connects victims of workplace sexual harassment with legal assistance (more than $22 million raised), and March for Our Lives, which helped fund a Washington, DC, rally to end gun violence (more than $3.5 million raised). 

Kolfage and GoFundMe didn’t respond to requests for comment. 

Pushing back with ‘ladders’

On Wednesday, in response to Kolfage’s campaign, veteran Charlotte Clymer started a GoFundMe called “Ladders to Get Over Trump’s Wall.” It’s raised more than $30,000 of its $100 million goal in its first 18 hours online, garnering a “trending” label from GoFundMe. 

The funds from Clymer’s campaign will actually go to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES, a nonprofit that provides free and low-cost legal services to immigrants and refugees. 

“This GoFundMe isn’t really about ladders at all,” Clymer wrote on the GoFundMe page. “It’s about lifting people up.”

Clymer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

First published Dec. 20 at 1:18 p.m. PT.
Updates, 2:16 p.m.: Adds information on “Ladders” campaign; 3:13 p.m.: Reworks story in light of “Ladders” effort.

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