The gifts keep coming.
Kyrie Irving has now given at least $496,000 to a dozen GoFundMe appeals, according to social media and local news reporting. There are likely other gifts. Irving does not publicize his giving nor comment on reports. The record of his giving has been derived from GoFundMe appeals which list all gifts. In each case, Irving’s donation was the largest.
The gifts range from $13,233 to $130,000 to cover everything from education funding to funeral expenses to efforts to gain justice in high-profile cases as well as the relief efforts and international protests. In none of the cases did Irving reveal his role ... just as he hasn’t in the past whether he was financing a new home for George Floyd’s family or a water filtration plant in an arid quarter of Pakistan. Also, there’s no indication that Irving knew the beneficiary of the appeals or their families.
Many of the gifts have come during the holidays. Here’s a sampling of the most recent:
On Wednesday, Irving gave $13,233, an appeal from the family of Edward Epps who sought funding to transport his body from New York, where he reportedly died in police custody, to Shreveport, Louisiana. That give came five days after Epps mother tweeted at Irving seeking help, knowing his record.
Last Friday, Irving donated $50,000 to an appeal from the Third World Press Foundation in Chicago which for 55 years has focused on issues, themes, and critique related to an African American public. Over the holidays, a burst pipe destroyed much of the foundation’s backlist of publications in the basement of the foundation offices.
It was also revealed this weekend that Irving had sent another $50,000 donation a month ago to an appeal set up by the family of a young Newark man who needs an attorney to represent the man who was arrested following a disturbance at a New Jersey restaurant. The family also wants the attorney to help set up a guardianship for the man.
Since December 20, Irving has been listed as the leading giver in the 12 different GoFundMe appeals. There seems to be no theme in the giving other than those appeals he funded needed immediate, even emergency, influxes of cash. Here’s some other recent examples that highlight the diversity of his giving:
He gave $15,000 to a GoFundMe appeal from the family of a Long Island man who lost his home to a fire as well as three gifts of $22,000 each: one to a second family who lost its home to a fire, this one in Central Pennsylvania; one from the daughter of a Modesto, Calif. street singer and free speech activist seeking funeral expenses; and a third from an artist wanting to create to “a large-scale neon artwork” honoring Iranian protestors in Los Angeles, home to hundreds of thousands of Iranian-Americans.
Irving’s gift to the Long Island house fire fund on December 20 is a good example of his holiday giving. He matched the GoFundMe goal set up by friends of Joseph Cassone who among other things runs an annual musical festival called Bradstock on the east end of the island. Here’s part of the appeal that Irving responded to:
Joseph Cassone, Bradstock Chief, father of two daughters, music lover, and friend to so many suffered a terrible loss when his home was destroyed by a catastrophic fire today. He lost everything and tragically his cat died as well. All he has are the clothes on his back and his truck. Joejo’s home was a small cottage located in the town of Southampton where he has been residing for many years. How can one even imagine such a calamity, especially during a season in which we look forward to spending the holidays at home with family and friends?
Similarly, on December 31, Irving sent $22,000 to an appeal set up by Ashley Owens, the daughter of Modesto’s Dellanora Green who died just before Christmas. The appeal asked for money to fund funeral expenses and a memorial for the 61-year-old woman who sang outside Modesto restaurants and entertainment venues. Her daughter wrote in the GoFundMe appeal:
She was a fantastic woman with a beautiful voice who loves her family and friends dearly, So please help our family lay this beautiful soul down to rest.”
She lived in Modesto, CA. for many years of her life performing and sharing her voice. It would mean so much to her knowing that she touched so many hearts.
In the case of the donation to fund Iranian protest art, called CHANT, the sculptor, Amir H. Fallah, said this of his plans, to which Irving gave on December 28:
[V]isibility and public education are fundamental to this movement. Signage and bold messaging are crucial tools in the project of change, and CHANT is part of the greater effort to keep this movement alive in our communities worldwide. First and foremost, this project is a tool for public education, joining the demand for urgent change in Iran, using the power of art to elevate the dialogue and keep it in the public eye.
And after a fire devastated a family in Bellefonte, Penn. shortly after Christmas, Irving responded again, with another $22,000 donation. The appeal laid out the family’s dire situation:
Everything, and I mean everything, was lost in the fire! Denika and Mitch grabbed only their children and ran out of the door without so much as shoes on their feet. They ran to make sure the other tenants got out as well and then could do nothing but watch. The most important things at this time are their essential everyday needs. Mitch’s cell phone was also lost. A family of four is hard to put in 1 room, so there is also the need for shelter, adding more cost until a permanent arrangement can be found. The kids lost all their toys, and sweet Myla has been asking if her “stuffy got fired?” They need literally everything from food, diapers, wipes, clothes, to fingernail clippers, towels, toothbrushes, etc.
In each of the four, Irving’s donation was greater than the goal set in the appeals.
Irving’s efforts were first highlighted late last month when it was revealed he had made a donation to a Howard University student’s appeal, also of $22,000, that will permit the student, Destiny Thompson, to complete her studies. (The significance of the number 22 remains a bit of a mystery, but the two uniform numbers he’s worn in his NBA career — 11 and 2 — when multiplied come to 22.)
Perhaps his most unique gift was detailed by The Missoulian newspaper in the western Montana city of Missoula which reported on the gift back on December 16.
When the state recently pulled a subsidy for childcare at a number of Montana childcare centers. one of the clinics, Little Twigs Childcare in Missoula, was doubly hit. Not only did the loss of the subsidy affect the 50 children at the center, it also meant that it would have to lay off 15 refugee women from Syria, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, and Afghanistan who help care for the center’s children as well as their own. So, the Little Twigs director set up a GoFundme site. The goal: $24,000. Irving found the site and responded, giving $50,000 on December 15. It was by far the largest donation to the appeal and the group has now raised more than $68,000.
The relief, as The Missoulian reported, is temporary, but Irving’s generosity has given the issue significant publicity ... and helped raise funds beyond his gift.
Also, in each case, Irving’s gift was the largest by far and appears to have spurred others to contribute. More than one recipient has posted thank you videos. Here’s Destiny Thompson’s response.
Irving also has provided funds to the families of those like the Newark man who believe they have not received equal justice under the law. He gave $50,000 a month ago to Justice for Jaheim, a group set up to investigate the police killing of Jaheim McMillan, a 15-year-old Gulfport, Mississippi high school student who was shot and killed by local police in October.
His biggest contributions have been the appeal set up by the family of Shanquella Robinson, a North Carolina woman who died in Mexico under suspicious circumstances also in October. The death was initially ruled an accident but in recent weeks, it was determined that Robinson had been murdered and local authorities arrested those believed responsible.
Based on various reports by local media like The Missoulian and the Centre Daily News in Pennsylania as well as social media reporting, here’s a chronology of what’s known about Irving’s giving to GoFundMe appeals with links to the appeals he’s given to:
- On January 25, he gave $13,233 to the GoFundme for Edward Epps burial costs.
- On January 20, he provided the $50,000 gift to the GoFundMe of the Third World Press Foundation to help it recover from a pipe burst.
- On January 4, Irving donated $22,000 to the Colpetzer family in Bellefonte, Penn. to cover the everyday needs following a December 30 fire, as detailed in the family’s GoFundMe appeal.
- Around that same time, Irving donated $22,000 to a GoFundMe appeal set up by the family of Nyajee Davis, the Newark man with diagnosed mental issues who was arrested for an altercation at a restaurant.
- On December 31, Irving provided $22,000 to fund funeral expenses of Modesto street singer and activist Dellanora Green via GoFundMe.
- On December 28, Irving sent $22,000 to the GoFundMe appeal of artist Amir Fallah for the creation of a neon artwork honoring protestors in Iran.
- On December 20, Irving sent $15,000 to the Joseph Cassone GoFundMe. to help restore his Southampton home destroyed by fire.
- On December 16, he gave $50,000 to Little Twigs Childcare GoFundMe, the Missoula day care center.
- On December 12, he donated $50,000 to the GoFundMe set up for the family of Jaheim McMillan, the Gulfport, MS. student who was shot and killed by police on October 6.
- The same day, he gave the $22,000 to Destiny Thompson, the college student at Howard University who had set up a GoFundMe to cover a shortfall in funding for her education.
- In November, he gave a total of $130,000 in donations of $65,000 and $50,000 to the family of Shanquella Robinson, an American woman who died in Mexico under suspicious circumstances. Again, he found the GoFundMe site set up to support the family.
- Also, in November, he gave $50,000 to the GoFundMe set up by the family of Devin Chandler, one of three University of Virginia football players murdered by a former teammate.
While some have suggested Irving will get a tax write-off on the GoFundMe gifts, that is not the case. Contributions to GoFundMe appeals (unless part of fund-raising event) are not tax deductible.
In addition to the GoFundMe donations, Irving also publicly provided $60,000 to the city’s oldest Black Muslim school at the end of November...
At one point in the controversy of Irving’s publicizing an antisemitic video, Irving also committed to give $500,000 to anti-hate groups. That status of that commitment is not known nor is there any indication that any of these gifts are related.