Starting the New Year with a Thank You

We hope that your holidays were wonderful and that you’re starting the New Year refreshed and energized.  To those of you who make New Year’s resolutions, we wish you the best in staying the course; remember it’s just one step at a time.  Colin’s not the sort to make resolutions, but mine was to be grateful for what I have and every morning I think of at least one thing I’m thankful for.

That brings me to this note, where I’d like to give a big thank you to so many of you.  Just before Christmas we launched a crowdsourcing campaign to help my family in Syria.  They live in a war-torn region and have no heat, little food and risk their lives every day. My father (and us to a smaller extent) has been supporting them and making efforts to get them out to Canada, but the cost is growing so I launched the campaign to help.  We were overwhelmed by the response, and raised $2,500 within 36 hours.

It seemed likely we would reach our goal of $10,000, but then our campaign page disappeared.  The company hosting our fundraiser, Indiegogo, froze it because the money is going to help Syrians. They stated they needed to ensure that use of the funds was in compliance with US sanctions against Syria.  Their action effectively took the momentum from our campaign at the most critical period.

Indiegogo has since agreed that we are not contravening sanctions, however, two weeks later our account is still frozen.  They now state they are waiting to see if their bank will process the funds.   We have been assured that the money will either be released to us eventually (to be used to provide assistance to my family in Syria), or it will be returned to the donors.

Although no one can see campaign while it is frozen, all the generous contributions will reach my family in Syria when it is restarted.  To view some of the kind comments passed along by some of the contributors, please visit our website.

This campaign has shown me just how much people care and I’m humbled and grateful for the incredible display of generosity. I also want to thank you for the huge outpouring of support for this blip in our fundraising efforts. The story of our challenge with Indiegogo for raising money for Syrians has been covered by  CBC’s As it Happens, the National Post, Sun Media, and the Huffington Post. Indiegogo has since apologized and promised to review their policies.

Since this story has come out, the founder of the Canadian crowdsourcing site FundRazr has contacted us and set up a new campaign for us. Thanks to Daryl Hatton we’ve just relaunched our crowdsourcing campaign with FundRazr. To those of you who asked about making contributions please visit our new campaign.  Thank you and Happy 2013.

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1 Comments to “Starting the New Year with a Thank You”

  1. Dear Julie and Colin:
    It is sad to see that more than often, unfair, unthoughtful and at times illegal sanctions, embargo or acts are imposed on countries, affecting mostly its population and in occasions even violating the Sovereignty of those who are willing to give a hand to those in trouble. Such is the case of the Helms-Burton act that has violated UN resolutions as well as autonomy and relationship of countries like Mexico and its neighbor Cuba.
    Anyhow I did not write to talk about politics and the world we live in but just to tell you that I truly believe that what Indiegogo did and how they managed the situation, lacks ethics, morals and by not returning the money to at least the donors ASAP and on time it is showing an abusive and bullying behaviour that can’t be tolerated.
    I am a humble cartoonist and animator that believe in a better a world for next generations. I cycle to work regardless of the weather, I walk, I run, I traveled countries by bicycle and I do what I can to tell the children, that I did what I could to leave behind a better world for them.
    I do not have much but if someone ever again holds your kind hand to help others by freezing your accounts and violating some principles I believe in, please do not hesitate to let me know. I would be more than pleased to pull that money from my own savings so it can reach its destination on time and I can just sit and wait until you get it back from the perpetrators. I can wait forever, people in Syria can’t
    I apologize if I seem upset but I am.
    Hoping your family in the middle east are doing fine and please let them know that even thought there’s no much we can do, they are and will be in our minds at all times.
    Yours truly.
    The Art on wheels. Raul
    Deep Covian in Halifax

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