GoFundMe's biggest campaigns in history spotlight America's most pressing issues: hunger, racism, and Covid-19

2020 marks GoFundMe's 10th anniversary and an unprecedented year of giving. By Lauren Lee, CNN

(CNN) -- GoFundMe released its 2020 giving report, and it is spotlighting some of America's biggest struggles: hunger, racism, and Covid-19.

"Many millions of people across the US and the world are facing incredibly difficult circumstances," said GoFundMe CEO Tim Cadogan.

A year of need and generosity

The crowdfunding platform is marking its 10th anniversary, and by most measures, has made its biggest impact in 2020.

"This year's giving trends exemplify just how much we can achieve when we come together as a community and help one another," said Cadogan.

Here are the top five GoFundMe campaigns of 2020:

  • America's Food Fund -- Donors gave over $44 million to feed those experiencing food insecurity made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Official George Floyd Memorial Fund -- In response to the death of George Floyd, more than 500,000 donors contributed to help the Floyd family seek justice.
  • Frontline Responders Fund -- Donors gave more than $8.2 million, which provided 47 million units of personal protective equipment and relief supplies to medical professionals on the front lines of the pandemic.
  • Justice for Breonna Taylor -- The world stepped up to honor Breonna Taylor's life after her fatal shooting by police officers in her home. Donors raised $6.7 million for her family.
  • Navajo & Hopi Families Covid-19 Relief Fund -- Navajo and Hopi communities have been devastated by Covid-19. Donors gave more than $6.5 million to protect high-risk individuals in their communities.

"That outpouring of generosity and selflessness, from stranger to stranger, friend to friend, and loved one to loved one, is a ray of light in what has obviously been a very difficult year," Cadogan said.

Highlighting the pandemic's toll

This ray of hope underscores the massive problems Americans faced due to the pandemic.

According to the report, 70% of donations this year were under $50, which is down 40% from last year.

"We've seen Covid 19-related activity on GoFundMe closely mirror the evolution of the pandemic," explained Cadogan.

"Earlier in the crisis, there was a massive push to support healthcare workers and to secure PPE for those on the front line," he said.

Early on Cadogan says there was a spike in activity for small businesses and employees affected by stay-at-home orders. In October, that shifted to fundraisers focused on meeting essential needs. In response to a vast increase in fundraisers, GoFundMe launched the Rent, Food, and Monthly Bills category and the Basic Necessities Cause. These bring together donors, fundraising organizers, and other groups to support people facing urgent needs and charities that drive long-term relief.

"Our job as a company is to give those people tools to quickly get the help they need," Cadogan says of the platform.

"No one should have to choose between paying their electricity bill and putting food on the table or paying rent and supporting a loved one."

America's Food Fund is the platform's biggest fundraiser of all time. With more than 54 million people facing food insecurity in the US due to the pandemic, Cadogan says a record-breaking campaign reveals the depth of the hunger crisis.

"Very sadly, it reiterates that hunger is a major issue in the US," explained Cadogan.

"With the unprecedented number of people who lost their jobs this year, many are being forced to make the difficult choice between paying rent and having running water, buying food for their family, and keeping the lights on."

Even still, people around the world stepped up to support others in need on this occasion.

"Whether it was relief for Covid-19, support for the movement for racial equality, or help for those impacted by a historic number of natural disasters, we saw millions of people come together on GoFundMe and inspired hope through giving," he said.

GoFundMe's biggest day

June 2, 2020, a week after George Floyd's death, was the platform's biggest day. More than 500,000 people donated to support Floyd's family and other causes related to racial justice and equality.

"The activity we saw on GoFundMe in support of people and organizations working to achieve racial justice underscores the fundamental importance of the issue across America and the wider world," said Cadogan.

Cadogan says the platform has changed how people think about giving during its decade of existence.

"People have used GoFundMe for a very wide range of needs including medical expenses, study abroad trips, natural disasters, college tuition, local charities, supporting food banks, assisting local business, memorial expenses, mission trips, and pet expenses," he said.

"The common thread through them all is people using GoFundMe to come together to support the people and causes they care about."

Impact Your World has compiled a list of donation opportunities to help those affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Select your area of interest and click the support button to donate.

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