Americans have shown a tremendous desire to help those who help them — first responders in need. For too long, scammers and criminals have used first responders’ stories and consumer generosity to collect millions in online contributions that never went to the intended recipients. Those criminal practices end today as FundtheFirst.com, the first online verified contribution platform, launches.
FundtheFirst.com enables anyone to host a contribution campaign for first responders — fire, EMS, law enforcement, military and medical — in need. Prior to the launch of any campaign, the identity of the first responder or family in need (in the case of a death) must be fully verified. In addition, all campaign proceeds are paid directly by Fund the First to the campaign’s designated beneficiary — a first responder or his/her family. No third parties, no fraud, no scams.
“Our nation’s first responders put their lives and livelihoods on the line every day for all of us. That has been no better displayed than during the Coronavirus crisis over the past three months,” said Robert Garland, CEO of Fund the First. “Our first responders need help to deal with losses due to injury or illness. Their families need assistance when first responders make the ultimate sacrifice and die on the job. We are here to make sure that first responders in need are not exploited. We are here to make sure they are helped.”
In partnership with id.me, all campaigns in a first responder’s name on Fund the First are verified to securely prove their identity. Fund the First then directly remits payments to the campaign beneficiary.
Trust and verification are lacking on other online fundraising platforms where scammers and criminals have been known to create fake campaigns in the names of first responders in need. Recent national polling conducted by Fund the First found that 25% of consumers who said they donated to an online fundraising campaign thought they were duped by fraudsters, and 81% admitted that they don’t know how to tell if an online fundraising campaign is legitimate.
“For first responders, there is nothing more important than trust,” said Kevin Darcy, chief communications officer of Fund the First. “We have built a service that both first responders and financial contributors can count on. We know first-hand that our nation’s first responders face challenges. We look forward to helping overcome them.”
Developed by first responders for first responders, Fund the First was created after Garland’s New York Police Department colleague — Detective Jason Stocker — needed assistance to help pay for his daughter’s rising healthcare costs as she courageously battled a rare neurodegenerative disease that has affected only 300 people in the past 80 years. Garland created an online contribution campaign that raised $14,000. Callie passed away early this year, but her inspiration will now help thousands of other first responder families. Callie’s parents will be launching the Callie Stocker Scholarship fund today on FundtheFirst.com.
But, it isn’t just about helping a family after a first responder has been killed on the job or aiding first responder with financial or health challenges. The rigors of the job of a first responder make careers finite. First responders are multi-dimensional people who can thrive in post-career businesses. Fund the First also strives to help provide a platform for first responders to receive investments and business capital from those who want to support their efforts.
Other details about Fund the First include:
- Manual verification processes to verify families of first responders who have died and to address any other questions that arise after identification by id.me.
- Campaigns are paid out even if the campaign goal is not reached.
- There is no “tipping” where additional funds go directly to the Fund the First corporate offices.
About Fund The First
Fund the First is the only verified fundraising platform for first responders. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.