GoFundMe Announces Fundraising Campaign for Federal Employees

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By on January 21, 2019 in Pay & Benefits with 0 Comments

US flag flying against a blue sky with the words 'government shutdown relief fund' overlaid on top of it

The crowdfunding website GoFundMe announced over the weekend that it has launched a fundraising campaign to benefit federal employees who are going without pay during the ongoing partial government shutdown.

According to the announcement, Rob Solomon, GoFundMe CEO, said that his company is partnering with Deepak Chopra in the relief effort to solicit donations that will go to various nonprofit groups that are currently working to provide assistance to federal employees in the form of providing meals, counseling or housing relief. Some of the nonprofits mentioned are chef José Andrés, who has been providing meals to federal employees, and the National Diaper Bank Network which has been providing diapers to parents impacted by the shutdown.

GoFundMe said that Chopra has given $10,000 to the cause and that it is matching his donation. The company said it will be adding more nonprofit groups as the fundraising campaign continues.

“I hope the shutdown ends soon. In the meantime, please join me and help our fellow Americans by providing some short term relief. This is not about politics. This is lending a helping hand to someone in need,” wrote Solomon in the announcement.

Many federal employees have turned to setting up individual pages on GoFundMe to raise money to cover their needs during the shutdown. However, ethics experts have cautioned that this could potentially constitute ethics violations.

While the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is now closed during the shutdown, the agency will eventually open again. Those seeking crowdfunding to help pay their bills may be facing disciplinary action when the government reopens. For those with a personal interest in this, check out the guidance and restrictions from OGE on gifts and payments to federal employees.

Because the fundraising effort announced by GoFundMe will distribute funds to nonprofits rather than the individual federal employees, it is likely that it will alleviate this potential concern by distributing the money to nonprofits to provide aid as needed rather than having the money go directly to the federal workers.

Many other businesses and organizations have been providing free services, food and benefits to federal employees during the shutdown from haircuts to tickets to sporting events. If you know of relief efforts to help federal employees impacted by the shutdown, share them in the comments here or with FedSmith on Facebook and Twitter to help spread the word.

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.