GoFundMe to refund the $20 million raised for the border wall

Effort was to raise $1 billion

By MADELINE HOLCOMBE, CNN
GoFundMe via CNN

(CNN) - A crowdfunding effort for a wall at the southern border reached an impressive number, but it may have to give all that money back.

The GoFundMe campaign started by Brian Kolfage, a triple amputee Air Force veteran and motivational speaker, sought to provide $1 billion to fund President Donald Trump's border wall.

If all 63 million Americans who voted for President Trump donated, each would only have to pay $80 to reach the goal.

As of Friday, the campaign raised just over $20 million, but it's not all that Kolfage hoped for.

The campaign, GoFundMe said, was designed to be all or nothing.

"When the campaign was created, the campaign organizer specifically stated on the campaign page, 'If we don't reach our goal or come significantly close we will refund every single penny,'" GoFundMe told CNN. "He also stated on the campaign page, '100% of your donations will go to the Trump Wall. If for ANY reason we don't reach our goal we will refund your donation.'"

"That did not happen. This means all donors will receive a refund," GoFundMe told CNN.

However, the campaign page was still up early Saturday and accepting donations, and it's unclear when it will be taken down. GoFundMe said it is up to the campaign organizer to determine when it will be shut down.

With the now longest government shutdown in US history taking place over the funding of the border wall, Kolfage's campaign page said he "was tired of watching the U.S. government's inability to secure our southern border."

Kolfage said that he has determined that the federal government is not in a place to accept the money, so he intends on having a team to build a wall privately.

In place of the GoFundMe campaign, Kolfage set up a 501(c)(4) non-profit Florida Corporation named "We Build the Wall, Inc." and is asking donors to redirect their contributions to the organization.

But he will honor the refund, he said on the campaign page, if donors choose not to move to the new platform.

"When I created this fundraiser, I said if we did not reach our goal we will refund donors. I am honoring that commitment today. We will promptly refund your donation unless you tell us you approve our new plan for action," Kolfage said.

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