We’ve all read the viral stories of one or maybe two people who ‘struck it rich’ on GoFundMe thanks to one chance encounter. Just like lottery winners, GoFundMe ‘winners’ seem to be learning hitting the viral crowdfunding lottery isn’t always so great after all.
For example, James Robertson of Detroit used to walk 21 miles round-trip to his factory job and back until he received $350,009 from a GoFundMe campaign started by Evan Leedy last year. Robertson ended up with a brand new Ford Taurus, as well as new address after his new-found ‘wealth’ drove him from the neighborhood he’d spent his entire life in.
Or what about ‘Relentlessly Gay‘ Julie Baker of Baltimore who raised over $43,000 in donations to a GoFundMe campaign she started after her neighbors allegedly went on a jihad against her simple rainbow yard decorations? Scrutiny led to the Baltimore police analyzing her claims and at the end of it, she refunded donations.
And now we have young Chauncy Black of Memphis. Chauncy met Matt White — an aspiring musician — about three weeks ago at Kroger, where Chauncy was offering to carry groceries out for customers which is weird to me because I had my first bag and bring job at 15 hauling out groceries at the local Pick ‘n’ Save in Milwaukee for $4.50 an hour BUT I DIGRESS. Chauncy was out there, Matt met him, Matt wrote a Facebook post about how he took Chauncy shopping and then the GoFundMe page came.
It originally had a goal of $250 so Chauncy could get a lawnmower of his own and make some money cutting lawns. Again, I did that shit as a teenager and as someone who is allergic to grass let me tell you it sucks. But it pays! So good on Matt.
Enter the news. Oh, the news. I love the news because I am part of the news and as such I get how the news does things but holy shit, the news went off the rails on this one.
Now here we are, just a few short weeks later, and everything is already falling apart. Matt is being accused of being an egotist on our Facebook page (I don’t disagree, he’s definitely eating this up as buying a handful of domains related to Chauncy proves), and the family is now having to insulate themselves from their own family. Is this really what a blessing looks like?
Hundreds of thousands of people have read the Chauncy’s heartwarming story, but it’s not all rays of sunshine as the days pass. As the money total has continued to crime, life has gotten very complicated for Chauncy and his mom.
The plan was for them to use part of the money to buy a new home, but the process of moving out had to be expedited for the family’s safety. As people learned about the fortune of money that was being donated, things got less and less comfortable.
For now, they are living in an undisclosed hotel. And from there, Barbara had to send a message to other family members.
“We don’t have no access to the money. All that money is gonna be put in a trust fund,” Barbara said in a video posted on the GoFundMe account page. “We don’t have any money. And I’m just letting my family know that we love them, but we are in danger.”
“Some people don’t have the best intentions for people who look like they’re gonna be well off,” Matthew added in the video. “This looks like a lottery winning, but it’s not.”
The fundraiser stands at about $314k. Meanwhile, “generous angel” Matt White seems to be eating the attention up, starting Facebook pages and buying up domains to capitalize on the ‘Hurricane Chauncy.’ Oh man. Best of luck, Chaunce. We mean that.