As the online donation campaign for the Humboldt Broncos neared $13.5 million Tuesday afternoon, the junior hockey club was busy making preparations for how the funds will be dispersed and managed.
Following the team’s fatal bus crash with a semi-truck on April 6 that killed 16 of 29 members on board, Humboldt resident Sylvie Kellington created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the team members affected by the crash.
The initial funding goal, which is set for every donation campaign on the online platform, was for $10,000. Within the first 48 hours after the crash, the total amount of money raised surpassed $1 million.
The current funding goal of $4 million as of Tuesday afternoon, has been more than tripled.
On Monday afternoon Broncos team president Kevin Garinger held a press conference to announce updates about the online funding campaign, including how the money will be dispersed.
Opportunities to make donations via the GoFundMe page will remain open until Wednesday night, at which point the option to give money will be closed at 11:59 p.m. CST, he said. However the webpage will remain active so that the team can continue to give updates about the monies’ management and dispersal.
“As much as the financial pressure has been immense, we are incredibly fortunate to receive funds to support our organization, but most importantly, our Broncos families,” Garinger said.
“(We) wish to reiterate (our) gratitude to Humboldt resident Sylvie Kellington for her quick thinking in creating … a way to help our club and its families.”
The team’s president explained that the final amount raised “will be transferred to a newly created non-profit corporation known as the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund Incorporated.”
The money will be will be allocated “for (its) intended purpose. An advisory committee is being established to make a recommendation for the allocation of these funds, which will be held in trust until the allocation occurs.”
Garinger said that the team will give a further update once the advisory committee is formed and begins the allocation process.
He also announced how the team will work to organize and deal with money raised from the “staggering number of individuals wanting to make donations or holding fundraising to support our organization as we deal with this unprecedented crisis.”
To accommodate that money, he said, the team is working with “legal counsel at Robertson Stromberg (to) launch the Humboldt Strong Community Foundation.”
The mission of the foundation is to support everyone affected by the team’s bus crash, including players, employees, families, volunteers, other hockey teams, emergency first responders and communities, he said, emphasizing that only money directed to the foundation will be considered as endorsed and sanctioned by the team.
“We care grateful for what our province, our nation and our world has done for our families,” Garinger said.
In her original GoFundMe post when the donation campaign was first set up, Kellington explained her connection to the Broncos (on top of being a resident of the city): She has a 16-year-old son, Dylan, who played for the Broncos Bantam A team this past season.
“Please help us raise money for the players and families affected. Money will go directly to families to help with any expenses incurred,” the post states.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Humboldt Broncos put out a press release updating the public on the statuses of the team members who remain in Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital.
According to the Saskatchewan Health Authority, nine of the 13 surviving members remain in hospital. Two of those nine are in critical condition.