Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombing Victims Funds

There are several movements afoot to collect funds in relation to the Boston Marathon Bombing. None of them, so far, are in connection with charities that have received high ratings from Charity Navigator. We list them here, with the information we have been able to obtain about each, to help inform potential donors. However, we caution that gifts to these funds carry more risk than gifts to a well-established, fully vetted charity.
  • TUGG
  • The One Fund
    • This fundraising effort was established on April 16th by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino “to help the people most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013.”
    • The group has applied for nonprofit status, but does not yet have it.  The notice about the fund’s creation does properly note that “although the Fund cannot guarantee that the IRS will make a determination that the organization qualifies as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity, if approval is received within the expected time frame, the determination will be retroactive to the date of the Fund’s formation.” Readers of this blog know that the IRS hands out nonprofit status like it is giving away candy so it is highly likely that the fund’s nonprofit status will be approved.
    • We’ve seen similar efforts after other disasters, including Superstorm Sandy in which the Governor of NJ and his wife started a fund. At the time, it too did not have nonprofit status (it does now). It has been the subject of some criticism – which Governor Christie has responded to.
    • We generally recommend that donors not support brand new charities in a time of crisis, but we recognize that many donors will want to support this fund. Hopefully, the caliber of the leaders who have created the fund, in combination with the media scrutiny it is sure to receive, will help ensure that the fund does as it promises it will do.
And to recap yesterday’s blog, here are some things to keep in mind in your efforts to support a Boston Marathon Bombing related fund:

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