GoFundMe a go-to for struggling businesses, families, pet owners

By Gary Warth, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Business News

SAN DIEGO - Some are to help laid-off restaurant workers or struggling breweries. Others are to keep dance studios open. Several are for smaller, personal expenses such as veterinarian bills.

But the online fundraisers all have one thing in common. Each of the GoFundMe posts are from a person, business or organization hurting financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hundreds of local relief efforts related to COVID-19 can be found on GoFundMe by searching "San Diego COVID" or "San Diego coronavirus," and most appear to be aimed at helping small businesses such as restaurants and shops struggling during the pandemic.

The same is true nationwide, according to a report released Thursday by GoFundMe, which found 60% of its COVID-related fundraisers in the U.S. were for small businesses. Worldwide, COVID-related fundraisers on the site have generated about $625 million, according to the report.

A Small Business Relief Initiative created by GoFundMe in March showed many fundraisers going beyond their goals. A drive to keep San Francisco's historic City Lights Books in business surpassed its $300,000 goal and raised $495,000, while in Los Angeles, supporters of the beloved Amoeba Music have raised $293,600 toward a goal of $400,000.

The fundraisers have been more modest locally, but do show patrons want to keep their favorite taverns and restaurants in business.


In June, supporters of the Black Cat Bar in City Heights launched a fundraiser to help owner Matt Parker keep his business afloat after it was closed by a public health order in March. So far, more than $8,000 has been raised toward a $10,000 goal.

Park & Rec in University Heights, Dobson's Bar and Restaurant in downtown San Diego and Chiquita's Mexican Restaurant

in Fairmont Park are among the other restaurants and bars that were quick to organize fundraisers following the shutdown. Chiquita's raised $6,400 toward its $10,000 goal, but is temporarily closed.

In Bankers Hill, Parc Bistro-Brasserie general manager Samantha Scholl created a "virtual tip jar" to help her 27 employees in March and raised about $11,000.


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