Thursday, July 18, 2013

Where is Gawker sending the Rob Ford ‘Crackstarter’ money ?

Remember that crazy time, not so long ago, when all anyone was talking about were the allegations that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford had been videotaped smoking from a crack pipe?

That seems like a lifetime ago. Two months later, no video has surfaced and, despite reported ties to a criminal investigation and being the subject of a massive crowd-funded bid to purchase a copy of the video, it seems like it just wasn't meant to be.

U.S. gossip site Gawker, the first group to report seeing the video, launched a bid to raise $200,000 to purchase the video from a group of men who had been attempting to sell it.

When the story went public, those men fell off the radar, according to Gawker. The fundraising campaign – coined ‘Crackstarter’ – continued, however, and the site easily reached its target.

Gawker editor John Cook announced today what will happen to that money. He had promised to send the money to a Canadian charity, should the website fail to obtain the video, and the official announcement was made today.
John Cook writes:
The total take from Crackstarter was $201,199. Indiegogo, the service that hosted the campaign, withheld $8,047.96 in fees. PayPal, which processed the payments, withheld $8,368.43. That left the Crackstarter with a net take of $184,782.61, which has been held in a non-interest bearing account since PayPal released the money to us.
We are splitting this sum four ways, with $46,195.65 going to each of the following organizations.

The Somali Canadian Association of Etobicoke
Seems like a fair candidate. Reports identified those who recorded the video as Somali drug dealers living in Etobicoke. Some argued the description unfairly maligned Toronto's Somali community, so here is some just desserts.

The South Riverdale Community Health Center
Gawker says this group acts as a drug outreach service in the city's southeast end. The money will go toward its drug programs, including needle exchanges and providing crack kits.

Unison Health and Community Services
Another community outreach centre. It has several locations in Toronto, including  a presence in Etobicoke. Again, the money will go to funding drug and addiction programs.

Ontario Regional Addictions Partnership Committee
This committee works in conjunction with the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program in Ontario. Gawker says the donation will go to training drug and alcohol counsellors, and buying equipment. It isn't a non-profit group, but Cook said he was confident the money would be used properly.

So there you have it, the four winners of Canada’s biggest political circus.

None of these groups were on the list of presumed frontrunners, but congratulations to them all. Hopefully the $46,195.65 they each receive will make a difference.
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