Online campaign for Laval, Que. Bus Tragedy Families Raise Over $100K – Montreal |

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Former Kindergarten Teacher Ste-Rose teacher Linda Sawyer left a stuffed animal and a note of condolence as a mark of respect for the victims.

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“It’s very sad,” she said. ‘We are angry, we want to know why. Families will need a lot of support.”

Support for the families of those affected by the tragedy continues to mount in different ways, especially on the fundraising front.

About a dozen GoFundMe campaigns have been started. There will be some benefits for the families of the two children killed when a Laval Transit bus rammed into a daycare last week. The other six are for injured children, at least two of whom are still in hospital. Some are for the general benefit of the school. So far, over $100,000 has been raised on these various sites.

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While online fundraising has proven hugely popular in the wake of tragedies and helpful for families coping with the public, charity industry experts caution that people should do their research to make sure their money is in the right hands. Go to

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“When something as bad and sad as this happens, it’s a good platform and a way to show support,” said Kate Behn, managing director of watchdog Charity Intelligence. “You just need to be a little careful.”

Bahn points out that GoFundMe campaigns are unregulated, so anyone can start a campaign with little oversight.

Global News contacted but did not receive a response by deadline. On its webpage, the site says that one-quarter of its global staff is dedicated to trust and security, and calls itself a trustworthy platform for fundraising.

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The organization’s website states that a fundraising page should answer the following questions:

  • How is the organizer related to the intended recipient of the donation?
  • What is the purpose of the fundraiser and how will the money be used?
  • Are immediate family and friends donating and leaving words of encouragement?
  • Is the intended recipient in control of the withdrawal? If not, is there a clear path for the money to reach them?

GoFundMe says that if those points are missing, potential donors should contact the organizer for more information.

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Bahn says there have been instances where fundraising campaigns have been used in nefarious ways. She points to the turmoil in the United States following the death of George Floyd. He said that one site specifically came to GoFundMe to benefit the Black Lives Matter Foundation.

“Millions and millions of dollars went to the Black Lives Matter Foundation,” the sister said. “People didn’t know that the Black Lives Matter Foundation was just a charity that was incorporated by someone who had no connection to the Black Lives Matter movement. You need to do your homework and you need to do your due diligence.

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Bahn doesn’t think GoFundMe needs more regulation; He believes that people should do their own research and make sure they know where their funds are going. Giving to the families directly involved in the fundraising effort is a good start, he said.

“I think it’s always important and it’s difficult when you’re driven by compassion to be like ‘Wait a second, where’s my money going?’ Is it really going to be where it best helps the families affected by this tragedy,” she said.

Global News contacted the organizers of the GoFundMe pages associated with the Laval families but did not receive a response.

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