Berkeley is 7th in GoFundMe’s list of most generous cities in the country


Rialto Cinemas, the dad or mum firm of the Elmwood movie show, has raised more than $100,000 by means of GoFundMe this 12 months. Picture: Joey Brite

An area bookstore, regionally made COVID-19 face shields, and native cinema pulled at Berkeley’s heartstrings this final 12 months, receiving tens of hundreds of {dollars} of donations to assist them survive.

This giving spirit helped place Berkeley as seventh within the nation in GoFundMe’s annual list of most beneficiant cities within the nation.

GoFundMe, a preferred on-line crowdfunding platform the place folks elevate cash for his or her selection of causes or occasions, launched its annual Giving Report this week, a abstract of the for-profit firm’s information.

In Berkeley this 12 months, three small companies, all deeply affected or influenced by COVID-19, attracted nearly $300,000 in mixed donations from GoFundMe campaigns: Rialto Cinemas, Moe’s Books and a West Berkeley steel store making face shields.

Rialto Cinemas, the dad or mum firm of the Elmwood and Cerrito Theaters closed since March 17, has raised more than $100,000 to this point in an effort to remain in enterprise, in response to its GoFundMe web page.

The corporate’s fundraiser was prolonged final month with phrase that film theaters would wish to shut once more, resulting from a surge within the virus.

“We have been planning to re-open the Cerrito on Friday, Nov. twentieth and the Elmwood on Wednesday, Nov. twenty fifth. We had movies booked and have been on the verge of constructing our announcement,” reads an replace on the GoFundMe web page. “Given the modifications within the well being orders for Alameda County and Contra Costa County we’ve got canceled our plans to re-open this month. We’re disenchanted on this flip of occasions however it’s a sacrifice we have to make within the curiosity of public well being and doing our half to assist fight the unfold of the virus.”

And, they added: “We miss you all very a lot and look ahead to the times after we can as soon as once more welcome you into our theaters to benefit from the magic of flickering photographs on the large display screen. To the 890 great people who’ve so generously donated to our GoFundMe marketing campaign we’ve got a large digital hug for every of you.”

Since closing, Rialto has generated some revenue with a movie streaming service, and by promoting fresh-popped popcorn at its theatre ticket cubicles on weekends.

Asking for cash isn’t straightforward, the web site says.

“That the federal government can vet and make sure a brand new Supreme Courtroom justice however not come to an inexpensive compromise settlement on assist to each residents and companies struggling on account of the COVID-19 pandemic is demoralizing and disappointing.”

Reminiscences immediate donations to longstanding bookstore

In Could, Moe’s Books marketed it was open for curbside pickup. Picture: Pete Rosos

Moe’s Books 2020 “Life Line” fundraiser has introduced in $77,687 so far. The donations are being break up 50/50 between books and employees, in response to the bookstore’s GoFundMe web page. Moe’s has stayed open through the pandemic, with social distancing, face masks and hand sanitizer, the location says. “Be happy to incorporate us in your occasional socially distanced outing.”

When listening to of Berkeley’s seventh most beneficiant metropolis score (on GoFundMe), Doris Moskowitz, Moe’s proprietor, mentioned:  “That is superb information. Go Berkeley Go.”

“Fortunately, I’m simply paying out a few of the cash this week to employees people who find themselves nonetheless sheltering in place.” — Doris Moskowitz

The marketing campaign has been “extraordinarily useful,” she mentioned. “Fortunately, I’m simply paying out a few of the cash this week to employees people who find themselves nonetheless sheltering in place. It feels nice to have one thing optimistic to share with them throughout these difficult instances. I believe one of many secrets and techniques of our marketing campaign has been that it’s meant to assist these people who our common clients know very properly. They need to see them once more when that is throughout.”

The marketing campaign was deliberately structured to direct a few of the cash for used-book shopping for, Moskowitz mentioned.

“I used to be undecided I might ask for assist however I can and I did and I’m so glad. The GoFundMe can be designed to assist our efforts to purchase books again from the neighborhood sooner or later so we hope to offer again when we’ve got so generously been given.”

“I’ve been concerned with Moe and Moe’s since 1962, he was, at one level, my landlord,” one $50 donor wrote on the GoFundMe web page. “He used to ship over bagels to the Shattuck retailer, recollections like that compel me to assist the place survive.”

Face shields for medical employees across the nation

Chris Taggart exhibits off the face defend he and others made at a West Berkeley steel store. Picture: Pete Rosos

A marketing campaign for COVID-19 face shields constructed in a Berkeley steel store and donated to medical employees nationwide, has generated $66,533 in donations. The shields are attached to baseball caps.

“With the assistance of dozens of volunteers, we delivered 30,000 cap shields. We shipped them everywhere in the nation. . .,” the fundraising website mentioned in an replace within the spring.  “Slightly than distribute them by means of hospitals or authorities directors (which appeared extremely bureaucratic and inefficient), we shipped them on to entrance line well being care employees.”

The trouble, known as People’s Protective Equipment, has closed store, however affords these ideas on its web site:

“And lastly, whereas we’ve got drastically appreciated the flexibility this work has given us to really feel like a part of the answer, our contribution pales compared to that of all of the people on the entrance traces of this disaster who put their lives in danger day-after-day. They didn’t ask for this disaster, however they’ve greater than answered the decision. We hope everybody will bear in mind their contribution lengthy past the period of the pandemic. And as soon as once more, we’d like to supply our heartfelt due to them.”

Contacted this week, Carl Bass, the metalworker who led the trouble mentioned:

“We distributed greater than 30,000 [shields] to folks throughout the nation, largely nurses and docs. And the donations got here from folks throughout the nation in addition to in form donations from the Golden State Warriors, Boston Purple Sox, San Francisco Giants, Dana Farber Institute, and many others. We stopped just a few months in the past as business provides of PPE ramped up. We’re now again to our traditional enterprise.”

In accordance with the GoFundMe annual report, 70% of its greater than 150 million donations so far are $50 or much less. It’s free to start out a fundraiser. The company makes its money with transaction fees and tips.

GoFundMe lists 3683 campaigns in Berkeley with every thing from searching for funds to take cats to the vet, medical take care of folks, funeral, school and housing help.  There are additionally campaigns to assist different native companies afloat, together with the Starry Plough Pub and the Lacking Hyperlink bicycle co-op.

The opposite cities in GoFundMe’s prime 10 “most beneficiant” have been: Silver Spring, MD, Spring, TX, Marietta, GA, Alpharetta, GA, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Alexandria, VA, Evanston, IL, Somerville, MA and Rockville, MD. The highest GoFundMe campaigns of the 12 months total have been: America’s Meals Fund (raised $44 million); the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund (raised $14.5 million), and the Frontline Responders Fund ($8.2 million).


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