Damar Hamlin’s toy charity donations topped $6 million

As Buffalo Bills safety Damar Handlin continues to fight for his life, the player’s fans are showing support by pouring money into a charity he founded to buy toys for children affected by the pandemic, before he was a household name

At 10:15 am ET, donations to GoFundMe topped out at $6.2 million. And the once humble charity drive broadened its focus.

“Damar created The Chasing M’s Foundation to be used as a vehicle to bring lasting impact to his community,” the site now reads. “The foundation supports toy drives, back-to-school drives, children’s camps, and more.”

NFL players and business leaders have become major supporters of the foundation as well. Robert Kraft and the New England Patriots organization donated more than $18,000. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford pledged $12,000. Tom Brady and Broncos QB Russell Wilson both donated $10,000. And Jason Hanold, CEO of Hanold Associates Executive Search, a company that helps sports teams (and others) find front office personnel, donated $20,000.

There are, of course, the risks of a grassroots charity suddenly becoming a multi-million dollar organization. Bookkeeping and accountability become more onerous tasks and have potential tax implications, as the amount rises. None of this, of course, should stop people from giving, but the organization’s operations are increasingly becoming more complex because of the volume.

Hamlin started the toy drive in 2020 to help children in his hometown of McRees Rocks, Pa. The toys were distributed to a local daycare center in December 2020, but the GoFundMe remains open. It is unclear whether the foundation has 501c3 status (meaning it is recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt due to its charitable work).

Hamlin remained in critical condition Wednesday after suffering cardiac arrest during Monday night’s NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He was on a ventilator and sedated. An uncle revealed that his heart had to be restarted in the field and when he arrived at the hospital

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