Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Zappos is already helping those affected by the mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip in advance of its crowdsourcing donation.
The day following the tragic event, Zappos announced it would match up to $1 million on its fundraising campaign on CrowdRise.com. More than $322,000 from 2,700 donors has been raised as of Tuesday, but the online retail giant has already helped some families of the deceased.
“We have been connected with a few families that had funeral costs that they were not able to afford,” said Steven Bautista, who leads Zappos for Good program and volunteer initiatives. “We’ve been pulling money from the money that is outstanding, to be able to pay for the immediate needs that they may have.”
Three families have already been given money for funeral- and transportation-related costs totaling about $20,000. The money is from Zappos’ own bank account and is not being taken out of the CrowdRise.com fund, Bautista said.
“We don’t want them to have to skimp on funerals, so we have been paying those out straight to the funeral homes, trying to get the (victims’) bodies from one state to another,” he said.
The response of the community has been inspiring, Bautista said. Small businesses have held fundraisers over the last week and are putting that money toward the Zappos’ match.
“For example, Freed’s Bakery donated all their cupcakes and raised $18,000,” he said. “Atomic Liquors downtown raised $30,000. I think you have every facet of the community coming together to raise donations, and that’s what makes it special. It’s not just the big businesses — it’s the small businesses and community members. That’s why this is a great place to live.”
Zappos is working with CrowdRise to determine how the money will be distributed “to ensure the families aren’t waiting longer than they need to,” Bautista said.
If families of the deceased are in need of immediate financial assistance for transportation and funeral costs, Bautista said to reach out to [email protected]