The April 6 crash in rural Saskatchewan has shaken the nation, and people around the country and the world have donated to the team – and raised over $10 million.
FULL COVERAGE: Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy
The online fundraiser titled “Funds for Humboldt Broncos” has surpassed the record for any Canadian GoFundMe, and it’s still climbing.
Here’s everything you need to know about the fundraiser.
Who started it?
The page was set up by Sylvie Kellington, a Humboldt woman whose son played for a youth version of the team called the Broncos Bantam A team.
She, along with Cailin Hergott, wanted to find any way to help after news of the crash spread.
Even though the pair isn’t directly related to the crash, they said the team is integral to Humboldt, Sask.
“They are such an integral part of our community. They go to our daughter’s school and work with the kids there,” Kellington told CKNW.
“They’re all over in the community being helpful.”
“Our original goal was just to pay for coffee and parking for the families at Royal University Hospital, and maybe the meals. We just had very limited goals because we didn’t think it would go very far,” Hergott told local radio station BoltFM.
Kellington says the fact that it’s affected the world is “mindblowing.”
“For the fact that it’s affected the entire country, and I guess perhaps the world… it’s just been mind-blowing,” she told the radio station.
Does all the money go to the Humboldt Broncos?
The president of the Humboldt Broncos told media the funds were primarily going to be used to support the families of the victims.
“We want to make sure we do the right thing to support our families,” Kevin Garinger said, adding that the amount of money raised was “staggering.”
But it will still take several months to distribute the money raised so far for the victims, according to a GoFundMe spokesperson.
WATCH: Humboldt Broncos say GoFundMe money to be ‘primarily’ used to support victims’ families
The spokesperson declined to say whether the money would be dispersed only among the families of the 16 people killed, or if it would also go to the 13 others who were injured, according to The Canadian Press.
A campaign of that scale presents logistical challenges, which GoFundMe said it’s still working through.
GoFundMe has previously charged a fee of five per cent to offset the costs associated with the site, but in 2017, changed the platform’s pricing structure to a voluntary tipping model so someone’s “entire donation will go to the beneficiary of the campaign,” spokesperson Rachel Hollis told Global News.
Donors can choose to tip in a drop-down menu, which defaults to 10-15 per cent, but people can switch it to 0 per cent.
WATCH: GoFundMe CEO on Humboldt Broncos bus crash fundraising
Biggest GoFundMe campaign in Canada ever
The campaign is the biggest campaign ever in Canada — more than 100,000 people from 65 different countries have donated, including Australia, Spain, France, Switzerland, India and Peru.
It’s one of the top five in the world, officials from GoFundMe said, with over $10 million and counting.
“What’s most phenomenal is the fact that people started giving in Western Canada, and it’s spread across the country, it’s spread across the states, and now the donations have come from 65 different countries,” Rob Solomon, CEO of GoFundMe, told Global News.
The biggest drive seen on the website was related to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which raised over US$21.5 million.
That’s followed by the Las Vegas Victims Fund, which raised US$11.8 million, with the Support Victims of Pulse Shooting in 2016 that raised US$7.8 million (C$9.88 million) being bumped to number four.
How did it get so big?
“We’ve never seen anything like this in Canada,” Solomon said.
Experts say that’s because it struck a chord in the hearts of everyone around the world.
“It’s such a tragic event, obviously in Canada, hockey is just as important as any social institution. People knew these kids, if they didn’t, they knew kids just like this, so it’s part of the social fabric,” Solomon explained.
“It’s a bunch of young people so that makes us feel it’s more tragic,” Steve Joordens, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough said.
“But what is more of a factor, is that in some way, everyone has or knows someone who has a kid in soccer, hockey etc. A lot of people around the world can identify with that and can feel what a kick in the stomach it would be,” he said.
Solomon said the GoFundMe specifically lets people feel like they are making a difference.
“Most of the donations you see are in the $5, $10, $20 range, you know, people just want to do anything they can to help,“ he explained.
“It’s really all about people coming together to make an impact much greater than they can on their own.”
Big name, and big number, donations
Along with the $5 donations, there has been widespread corporate and NHL support, which has bumped the numbers up.
Corporations have donated up to $50,000 to the funds, and NHL teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins have also made big contributions.
The fund has also been promoted by Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry, which is watched by millions of viewers as the NHL is in the playoff season.
Other fundraisers to support instead
If you’re overwhelmed with the amount of money being given to the one cause, there are other ways you can donate to help the families.
Along with “Support for Humboldt Broncos” people are crowdsourcing funds for some of the victims specifically.
- Head coach Darcy Haugan
- In memory of Assistant coach Mark Cross
- Support for the Thomas Family
- Scholarship for goalies in memory of Parker Tobin
- Support for the sister and family Ryan Straschnitzki
*With files from Katie Dangerfield and Heide Pearson