Thinking #Crackstarter? Why not donate to a deserving charity instead?

Want to donate to a better cause than drug dealers via #Crackstarter? Might I suggest my @ campaign?
Greg Burrell

This whole thing with the Rob Ford crack video is getting ridiculous.

I’m assuming if you managed to find my site that you know about what’s been going on over the last few days, but just in case you haven’t, here’s a recap. Last week, Gawker published a story that they had been contacted by drug dealers claiming to have a video of Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. A few news outlets picked up on the story but none would pony up the $200,000 the crack dealers want for the video, so a “grassroots” campaign (affectionately called “Crackstarter”) has sprung up to raise the money and make the video public. I didn’t link to it, but you can find it easily enough if you really want to.

As of publishing this article, Crackstarter has raised $100,000. I have a lot of thoughts about the 4,000 people who decided to give money to this, for crack dealers and public humiliation. I certainly have no love for Rob Ford, and there’s lots of reasons I’d like to see him thrown out of office, but I think we can make better use of our money.

A while ago on Twitter I half-jokingly suggested donating to my Ride for Heart campaign instead of giving money to Crackstarter. The Ride for Heart raises money for the Heart & Stroke Foundation, funding research that helps people survive critical illness and live longer, fuller lives. I could be biased, since I am currently raising money for Heart & Stroke, but personally I think your donation will do more good given to Heart & Stroke than given to crack dealers.

If heart disease research isn’t your thing, here are some more local charities that are doing great work in our community, who could really use your donation.

Toronto People With AIDS Foundation: PWA is a support service for more than 15,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto, representing a quarter of Canada’s HIV-positive population. In 2011, Rob Ford was the only member of Toronto City Council to vote against accepting a grant for HIV/AIDS programs in the city.

Nellie’s Shelter: Nellie’s provides emergency shelter to women fleeing violence, oppression, poverty and homelessness. To expand their services and offer support to more women and their families, Nellie’s is launching a campaign to build a new shelter. In 2008, Rob Ford was arrested and charged for a domestic dispute allegedly arising from a complaint from his wife. Charges were later dropped, but in 2011 police were again called to Ford’s home for a domestic abuse complaint.

My First Wheels: My First Wheels accepts donations of lightly-used children’s bicycles and distributes them to children in low-income neighbourhoods through community partnerships. Many low-income families cannot afford to purchase bicycles for their children, and many cannot afford recreation activities for their children at all. Rob Ford voted to impose new fees on sports facilities in Toronto, and is a well-known and vocal opponent of cycling and cycling initiatives.

Do you have a charity you’d like to support, instead of giving money to Crackstarter? Please post links in the comments, and consider giving to one of these worthy causes.

About Greg Burrell

Greg is an accountant, cyclist and political observer living in Toronto, Canada with too many cats.
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  • Simon Barry McNeil

    There is also the walk to fight arthritis

  • Mark Dowling

    The reality is that IF #crackstarter results in the dethroning of Mayor Ford, Toronto may get a Mayor who can work with the province on social issues rather than voting against more nurses etc. In terms of the social health of Toronto $200k (including the $15k of gawker’s money) might be cheap at twice the price assuming it reaches the finish line OR Ford sees the writing on the wall and resigns first, in which case the money will be refunded due to not hitting $200k. But also: wow. #Crackstarter donors are so dumb and socially tonedeaf enough that instead of giving an average of $25 a piece, Greg B (and you’re not the only one) must come along and direct their money to a worthier cause? As Tony Soprano might say “you gotta a lotta bawlz”.