Toronto van attack fundraisers — everything you need to know about helping those affected
Several fundraising campaigns have emerged following Monday’s van attack in Toronto that left 10 dead and 14 others injured.
Many of the efforts have been organized by friends and families of the victims to raise money for various purposes, such as funeral costs or to cover medical expenses for those injured.
One GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the seven-year-old son of a single mom, Renuka Amarasingha, who was killed.
In an effort to co-ordinate and centralize the fundraising efforts, the City of Toronto has partnered with the Toronto Foundation to create the #TorontoStrong fund.
“This will ensure that donations can be put together in on place and then can flow to families and agencies and others in an orderly fashion,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a press conference on Tuesday.
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With a goal of $1 million, the fund had raised more than $677,673 as of Thursday morning.
Toronto Foundation explained on its website that the money will first go where it is most urgently needed — to help provide crisis support through organization Victims Services Toronto.
“The second tier will identify organizations that are engaged in the ripple effect and aftermath of the attack,” the website states.
“Through tier three, we will engage charities who work on the related social issues, their interconnections, and can play a role in prevention. We will provide public updates as events evolve and as needs arise.”
The #TorontoStrong fund is working in co-ordination with GoFundMe and Canada Zakat, one of the first groups to kick up fundraising efforts.
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Canada Zakat GoFundMe
Canada Zakat, which is a project of not-for-profit organization DawaNet Canada, launched a GoFundMe campaign just hours after Monday’s attack.
The organization, which led fundraising efforts in wake of the Quebec mosque shooting last year, was initially raising money for funeral costs specifically.
Junaid Sohail, who works with DawaNet, explained to Global News that the charity is currently in talks with Toronto Foundation to co-ordinate efforts.
“Initially, the plan was to raise funds for funeral expenses, but now that we’re in conversation with Toronto Foundation, the funds will also likely be used for providing other sorts of support, like providing emotional and financial support for the families of the victims, and first responders,” Sohail said.
As of Thursday morning, the Canada Zakat campaign had raised more than $179,000 of its $1-million goal.
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Campaign for Renuka Amarasingha’s son
A GoFundMe page was set up Wednesday to raise money for Diyon Amarasingha, whose single mom was killed on Monday.
The campaign was created by the Lotus Youth Council and the Toronto Maha Vihara Buddhist Meditation Centre, where the family visited every Sunday.
Asoka Pinnaduwage, who works with the centre, told Global News that Amarasingha did not have any other family in Canada.
A portion of the funds raised will go toward the mother’s funeral, the remainder will be for Diyon.
The campaign had raised more than $200,000 by Thursday morning.
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Anne Marie D’Amico funeral costs
A fundraiser on GoFundMe was created earlier this week to help cover funeral costs for D’Amico. It had raised more than $15,000 by Thursday.
The Invesco employee and Ryerson University alumni was the first identified victim of Monday’s attack.
In a statement, her family said she had a “generous heart.”
A memorial for D’Amico is set up at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, and a candlelight vigil is also planned for Thursday evening.
Other GoFundMe campaigns
GoFundMe has started a page dedicated to campaigns involving the Toronto van attack (it can be found here).
The page lists all campaigns that are verified by the fundraising website.
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Some other campaigns listed include ones for injured victims Amaresh Tesfamariam and Amir Kiumarsi.
There are also several smaller campaigns for victims in general.
In an email to Global News, GoFundMe spokesperson Rachel Hollis explained that there are other related campaigns on the site, but they are not yet verified.
“If the campaign does not appear in the central hub, it simply means they are still being vetted,” she said. “Once they are verified, they are added to the central hub.”
Hollis added that the website is reviewing every campaign created in relation to the attack.
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