Well-wishers donated $10 million to two online campaigns following Damar Hamlin’s on-field demise in January.
NEW YORK – Buffalo Bills Safety Foundation, Damar Hamlin will use $10 million awarded to well-wishers online fundraising campaigns after he collapsed on the field to fund her own nonprofit, Chasing M’s Foundation.
The decision, first shared with the Associated Press on Monday, kicks off the 25-year-old’s plan for the unprecedented support he received after his heart stopped following a tackle in “Monday Night Football” match in January.
“We have been very deliberate and deliberate about taking the time to properly set up our charity,” Hamlin said in a statement. “I am excited to start sharing news about the programs we are creating to impact a generation of youth and give back to others.”
The fact that people continue to donate weekly, if not daily, to the fundraiser is just one measure of the emotional strength and connection Hamlin has with so many people. To date, they have given away over $9 million to the GoFundMe campaign and almost a million dollars to the second online fundraiser established by The Giving Back Fund, a nonprofit that helps athletes and celebrities manage their philanthropy, according to Kelley Denny, a spokesperson for Hamlin’s charity.
Hamlin’s marketing rep said in January that his family had arranged for The Giving Back Fund act as a financial sponsor for the money given to GoFundMe, allowing Hamlin’s team to raise funds as a charity. At the time, Hamlin’s team said the millions of dollars given to GoFundMe would eventually go to The Giving Back Fund, but they didn’t.
Last week, news agency sport reported the turmoil in The Giving Back Fund stemming in part from the question of whether Hamlin’s GoFundMe gifts were charitable donations. Marc Pollick, CEO of The Giving Back Fund, countered the accuracy of Sportico’s report in a statement and said the organization’s management “has always acted ethically, appropriately and legally. “
“My charity is unrelated to the challenges facing The Giving Back Fund leadership,” Hamlin said in the statement, adding, “Donors will be exempt from taxes. completely.”
Hamlin first started Chasing M’s Foundation in May 2020 when he was still a student playing for the University of Pittsburgh and applied last month for a retroactive tax exemption, according to Denny. It was founded as a non-profit in Pennsylvania.
Experts say the question of whether donors can claim a tax deduction for what they contributed to GoFundMe after he was injured could depend on the IRS’s decision. Philadelphia attorney Don Kramer, who edits the website Nonprofit Matters, said the IRS has every right to retroactively recognize Hamlin’s nonprofit as tax-exempt. That’s despite the fact that the deadline for applying for retroactive status is usually 27 months after an organization is formed, Kramer said.
Few of Hamlin’s GoFundMe donors will likely be significantly interested in claiming a tax deduction for their gift. Because changes in tax law implemented in 2017, only those who list their taxes, about 11% of tax preparers, can claim a deduction for charitable contributions.
“I think the public needs to be a little more educated about checking whenever they give money and whether or not they give money,” said Lisa Delpy Neirotti, director of the sports management program at the George Washington University Business School. do they really think they are giving that money tax deductible? . She encouraged GoFundMe to make a clearer distinction between fundraisers set up by tax-exempt organizations and those that are not.
GoFundMe confirmed that it continues to keep the money given to Hamlin’s campaign and said that fundraisers designate when they benefit charities.
Records filed with the Pennsylvania Secretary of State show that Hamlin applied May 1 to update Chasing M’s articles of incorporation, including its mandate. Chasing M’s Foundation will support “the aspirations of youth and community members through sports, education” and other activities, and “promote health and safety in sport through training.” CPR & AED.”
Neirotti often advises athletes to partner with large organizations that work for a cause they care about, rather than starting their own nonprofit. But it’s unusual, she said, to have millions of dollars at once.
She said of Hamlin: “With that money, you can really put it in a property that will last forever, long after his playing days.
Since being discharged from the hospital, Hamlin has partnered with the American Heart Association for a campaign to teach a simple version of CPR. He also met President Joe Biden at the White House and advocated for access to defibrillators in schools with congressional leaders. In April, Hamlin announced that he wanted to back to play and has been cleared to practice with Bills.
Lora Golke, who leads sponsor engagement at the Arizona Community Foundation, says many athletes and their families often underestimate the amount of work it takes to run a nonprofit. or organization as well as the necessary expertise and knowledge.
“You have to remember that, at the same time, he is an athlete and has to do his job. His work is not charity work,” says Golke. Her organization has set up a sports and charity center to provide advice to former state athletes and major state teams on how they can make a difference in their communities. there.
In his first public statement posted in a video to social media on January 28, Hamlin thanked those who had donated money to the fundraiser but added: “I know that being grateful is not enough. This is just the beginning of the impact I want to have on the world, and with God’s guidance, I will continue to do wonderful and great things.”