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Blumenthal Urges Companies to Waive Donation Fees on Victim Funds

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal Thursday wrote to the companies involved in fundraising efforts for the Newtown shooting victims, asking them to waive the processing fees charged on the transactions.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal wants every penny donated to the Newtown shooting victims to go directly to them.

On Thursday Blumenthal called on 13 mobile phone, credit card, and fundraising companies to waive all processing and transaction fees they assess for collecting and processing donations that are made to support the Newtown community.

There are many different funds collecting money for the families of the victims and some of those funds are set up with organizations that assess a fee to process the transactions. With substantial amounts being donated, those fees are adding up -- up to 13 percent of the money will go directly to the companies that collect funds on behalf of charitable organizations for processing and transaction work.

On Thursday Blumenthal wrote to those companies asking them to forgo the fees as has been done in previous tragedies where money has been donated to victims.

“As the community grieves, I have been touched by the generous outpouring of help and spirit from Americans all over the country in offering assistance. Many Americans have already made donations to charitable organizations that are providing assistance to the community, and I hope many more will follow,” Blumenthal wrote.

“Your companies provide a convenient service to generous Americans who wish to help a distraught community. I encourage you to allow these charitable contributions to be most effective and do the most good for the Newtown victims, their families, and community by waiving the transaction fees that normally apply to these donations.”

Blumenthal wrote to letters to AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Crowdrise, Indiegogo, Fundly, JustGive.org, and PayPal.

The text of the letters is below, and copies of the letters can be found here: 

http://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/download/fee-waive-fundraising-websites

http://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/download/fee-waive-wireless-companies

http://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/download/fee-waive-credit-card-companies

 

Mr. Randall L. Stephenson
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
AT&T, Inc.
208 South Akard Street
Dallas, Texas  75202

Mr. Daniel S. Mead
President and Chief Executive Officer
Verizon Wireless
One Verizon Way
Basking Ridge, New Jersey  07920

Mr. John Legere
Chief Executive Officer
T-Mobile USA Inc.
12920 SE 38th Street
Bellevue, Washington 98006-1350

Mr. Daniel R. Hesse
President and Chief Executive Officer
Sprint Nextel Corporation
6200 Spring Parkway
Overland Park, Kansas  66251

Dear Messrs. Stephenson, Mead, Legere, and Hesse:


I am writing to request that your companies waive processing and transaction fees for donations that are made to organizations providing relief to the Newtown community following the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The events of December 14 were horrific and appalling, and they have deeply and grievously affected the residents of Newtown community as well as victims and their families. As the community grieves, I have been touched by the generous outpouring of help and spirit from Americans all over the country in offering assistance. Many Americans have already made donations to charitable organizations that are providing assistance to the community, and I hope many more will follow. 

Your companies enable an easy method to contribute to relief efforts by allowing them to donate via text message. Although convenient, these text messages can incur a charge. Your companies have waived these fees following previous tragedies, such as Hurricane Sandy, and I urge you to waive these fees in this instance as well. 

Your companies provide a convenient service to generous Americans who wish to help a distraught community. I encourage you to allow these charitable contributions to be most effective and do the most good for the Newtown victims, their families, and community by waiving the transaction fees that normally apply to these donations.

Sincerely, 

***************
Mr. Ajay Banga
President and Chief Executive Officer
MasterCard Incorporated
2000 Purchase Street
Purchase, New York  10577

Mr. Charles Scharf
Chief Executive Officer
Visa, Inc.
Post Office Box 8999
San Francisco, California 94128-8999

Mr. Kenneth Chenault
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
American Express Company
American Express Tower, World Financial Center
200 Vesey Street
New York, New York  10285

Mr. David W. Nelms
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Discover Financial Services
2500 Lake Cook Road
Riverwoods, Illinois  60015

 

Dear Messrs. Banga, Scharf, Chenault, and Nelms:

I am writing to request that your companies waive processing and transaction fees for donations that are made to organizations providing relief to the Newtown community following the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The events of December 14 were horrific and appalling, and they have deeply and grievously affected the residents of Newtown community as well as victims and their families. As the community grieves, I have been touched by the generous outpouring of help and spirit from Americans all over the country in offering assistance. Many Americans have already made donations to charitable organizations that are providing assistance to the community, and I hope many more will follow.
 
Your companies enable an easy method to contribute to relief efforts by allowing them to use their credit or debit card to donate online, over the phone, or via text message. Although convenient, donating via credit or debit card may incur a processing charge, reducing the donation’s effectiveness. Your companies have waived these charges following previous tragedies, and I urge you to waive these fees in this instance as well.

Your companies provide a convenient service to generous Americans who wish to help a distraught community. I encourage you to allow these charitable contributions to be most effective and do the most good for the Newtown victims, their families, and community by waiving the transaction fees that normally apply to these donations.

Sincerely, 

***************

Mr. David Boyce
Chief Executive Officer
Fundly, Inc.
2390 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306

Mr. Slava Rubin
Chief Executive Officer
Indiegogo
54 Thompson, 4th Floor
New York, NY  10012

Mr. David Marcus
President
PayPal, Inc.
2211 North First Street
San Jose, CA 95131

Mr. Robert Wolfe
Chief Executive Officer
CrowdRise
301 W. 4th Street, Suite 440
Royal Oak, MI  48067

Mr, Kendall Webb
Executive Director
JustGive
312 Sutter Street, Suite 410
San Francisco, California  94108

Dear Messrs. Boyce, Rubin, Marcus, Wolfe and Ms. Webb:

I am writing to request that your companies waive processing and transaction fees for donations that are made to organizations providing relief to the Newtown community following the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The events of December 14 were horrific and appalling, and they have deeply and grievously affected the residents of Newtown community as well as victims and their families. As the community grieves, I have been touched by the generous outpouring of help and spirit from Americans all over the country as they offer assistance. Many Americans have already made donations to charitable organizations that are providing assistance to the community, and I hope many more will follow.

Your companies offer customers an easy method to contribute to relief efforts by allowing them to donate via text message. Although convenient, these text messages can incur a charge. Your companies have waived these fees following previous tragedies, such as Hurricane Sandy, and I urge you to waive these fees in this instance as well.

Your companies provide a convenient service to generous Americans who wish to help a distraught community. I encourage you to allow these charitable contributions to be most effective and do the most good for the Newtown victims, their families, and community by waiving the transaction fees that normally apply to these donations.

Sincerely,

 

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