Describing the bus crash that wrenched life from 16 of its own, the Humboldt Broncos organization said it was “brought to its knees” by an unimaginable tragedy. But now is the time for getting affairs in order, to distribute the more than $ 12 million and counting raised in response.
In just two days, on Wednesday, the online donation page will be closed and taken offline.
The announcement came from Broncos president Kevin Garinger, who issued a statement on Monday about the GoFundMe campaign that shattered Canadian standards, becoming the country’s most successful fundraiser within days, and continually inching up the top 10 list of GoFundMes worldwide.
“Over the past ten days, an overwhelming wave of financial support has poured in for our club and its families,” Garinger wrote. He said their board of directors wanted to express “tremendous love and sincere gratitude” — to everyone who’d donated time and money.
“The strain on the Broncos’ organization’s limited resources has been immense,” he wrote.
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“Our priority currently remains focused — as it has been since day one — on working with our families, especially now as they lay their loved ones to rest, as well as on all our families and players struggling to heal, physically and mentally, in the wake of this devastating event.”
After 11:59 Wednesday night, the funds will be transferred from the GoFundMe campaign to a newly created non-profit: the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund Inc.
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An advisory committee is being established to reccomend how the funds are allocated, with all money held in trust until that allocation happens. The Broncos plan to provide an update when they’ve “formalized the composition of this committee.”
“The Broncos have been humbled, and our spirits buoyed, by the staggering number of individuals and groups wanting to make donations, or holding fundraisers to support our organization, as we deal with this unprecedented crisis,” Garinger wrote.
To discuss next steps to handle the money raised, the Broncos board of directors have been working with their legal counsel, MLT Aikins, and executives at GoFundMe’s head office. To accomodate incoming funds from individuals, groups and fundraisers, the team and their legal counsel Robertson Stromberg launched the HumboldtStrong Community Foundation.
That foundation will aim to support players, employees, families and volunteers of the team, but also first responders, emergency services personnel, teams, athletes, related organizations and communities affected by the crash and its aftermath.