POLITICS

Rob Ford Kickstarter/Crackstarter Donations To Be Given To Canadian Organizations

07/18/2013 02:46 EDT | Updated 09/17/2013 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - Roughly $200,000 raised in the hopes of buying an alleged video appearing to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine will instead be going to several Canadian organizations.

U.S.-based gossip website Gawker had promised to donate the money collected through an online campaign if the video didn't surface.

Six weeks after reaching its fundraising goal, the site published a message Thursday saying the cash will be split between four Canadian organizations dealing with issues related to substance abuse.

It named the Somali Canadian Association of Etobicoke, the South Riverdale Community Health Centre, Unison Health and Community Services and the Ontario Regional Addictions Partnership Committee.

Each organization will receive about $46,200, or a quarter of the money left after Gawker paid off fees incurred during the campaign, the website said Thursday.

Gawker said Indiegogo, the crowdfunding site that hosted the campaign, and PayPal, which processed the payments, each withheld part of the money for their services.

Osman Ali, director of the Somali Canadian group, said he's "very pleased" by the sudden windfall.

The funds will go toward hiring a youth worker to help local youngsters "stay away from guns and gang violence," he said.

The group submitted a proposal for the funding and learned Thursday it had been successful, though only for half the amount it sought, Ali said.

Asked whether he was concerned about benefiting from the controversial fundraiser, Ali said only that "God has mysterious ways of helping."

Others said they were surprised by the donation.

Autumn Johnson of the Ontario addictions committee said she had no inkling they would receive any money until Gawker called her Thursday morning.

The organization didn't apply for a grant but is "very grateful," Johnson said.

"We can definitely use the money," she said.

The organization champions and guides provincial initiatives under the national native alcohol and drug abuse program, and Johnson said the cash will go to workers involved in those efforts.

Funds stemming from the campaign have been earmarked for drug programs run by the South Riverdale centre in southeast Toronto and the Unison community group, which offers social and health services at several locations in the city.

In the message, Gawker editor John Cook said he's "disappointed" the money won't serve to buy the alleged video, which he says he has seen.

The website previously said it had lost contact with the alleged video's owner amid the growing scandal surrounding the mayor.

Ford has said that he does not use crack cocaine and the alleged video does not exist.

Also on HuffPost

Best Photos From Rob Ford Crack Scandal