Humboldt Strong Community Foundation has received more than $3.4M since original GoFundMe closed
Board working on long-term plans for the money
A community foundation for Humboldt, created after a wildly successful GoFundMe fundraiser stopped accepting funds, has received more than $3.4 million.
Sixteen people died and 13 others were injured on April 6 when the Humboldt Broncos team bus collided with a semi-truck north of Tisdale, Sask. The truck's driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu is facing 29 charges related to the crash, including 16 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.
A GoFundMe created for the team after the crash raised more than $15 million from more than 80 countries in 12 days. It became the second-largest GoFundMe campaign of all time.
Donations continued to roll in after the GoFundMe closed, leading to the creation of the Humboldt Strong Community Foundation.
"We're really amazed and continue to be amazed at the outpouring of support that we've experienced in response to the April 6 tragedy," said Darrin Duell, chair of the board of directors for the Humboldt Strong Community Foundation.
The foundation was set up to manage the funds, "for the benefit of the players, employees, families, volunteers, emergency services personnel, teams, related organizations and communities" affected by crash, according to the articles of incorporation.
Since the guidelines were first set out, they've been tweaked to allow them to cover any costs that might be associated with distributing the money from the original GoFundMe campaign.
"We're anticipating it could be as much as $60,000 that could be overhead costs with regards to the distribution of those funds," Duell said.
Other potential items the foundation might cover include funeral expenses or home renovations for crash victims with reduced mobility. Duell said there's also the potential for the foundation to fund a memorial at the crash site.
Some of the money has already been granted on a case-by-case basis. Duell said they've covered some costs associated with families having to stay out of town while their children were in the hospital.
Long-term plans to be determined
The nine directors will be meeting in the next few weeks to determine long-term plans for the money.
"We feel a responsibility within the foundation to think about what the legacy of April 6 is and how do we honour not just the players and the families but also the response of the public to what happened," Duell said.
Robertson Stromberg law firm helped them set up the foundation and has been accepting donations on their behalf. MNP accounting firm has also been providing support.
Duell was on the board of directors for the Humboldt Broncos Hockey Club during the time of the crash.
"I guess I channelled my energy then into the creation of this foundation and the fund and working with regard to how we're going to manage the funds that have been received by the club," he said.
"This was my way of pitching in and doing something in the aftermath of such an enormous tragedy."