The man attempting to help subsidize the construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall has shared a significant update. The "Trump Wall" GoFundMe will no longer donate funds raised to the federal government; instead, Brian Kolfage, its creator, says he will take matters into his own hands and build the wall privately through a nonprofit called We Build The Wall Inc.
“Do you really think the Democrats in Congress will take the money you donated and put it toward the southern border wall? I doubt it," Kolfage says in a video update posted to the fundraising website. "That’s why we are changing our mission from 'we fund the wall' to 'we build the wall.'"
According to the GoFundMe page, Kolfage's efforts to finance a border wall have brought in upward of $20 million. But since most donors originally gave money to help the government pay for the wall — not to build it privately — Kolfage is reportedly tasked with convincing donors to opt in to his new plan. Otherwise, those people get their money back under GoFundMe policies, according to CBS News. Bustle has reached out to We Build The Wall Inc. and GoFundMe for comment, and will update accordingly.
So far, Kolfage has said he received permission to transfer $7 million for his new project, though he later told CBS that this was a "guess." He also said that he had received more than 3,000 mail-in donations, though he hadn't tallied them yet.
In his video update, Kolfage says that he consulted with border security experts, and notes that there are "hundreds of miles of private land along the border." The website for his new initiative includes a lengthy list of team members who, per the description, "serve on the advisory board, and construction, finance, and or audit committees" or work on "operations, administration, PR, Media and ongoing fundraising." However, despite lengthy and details backgrounds provided for most names, each person's position within the organization is not specified.
The fundraiser was still actively receiving donations as of Wednesday afternoon. Funds he is permitted to transfer over, or which were donated after his announcement on Jan. 11, will reportedly back his new nonprofit, We Build the Wall Inc., according to Kolfage. The fundraiser's description says that all donations will only go toward the wall's construction, and says that no person will be paid out from the money raised.
On the GoFundMe page, Kolfage says that the group has already begun preliminary work necessary to get construction going, like assessing where the most often-crossed parts of the border are, approaching private landowners on the border, and working to figure out what kind of wall would work best in different areas. A triple amputee veteran, Kolfage says on the nonprofit's website that he is "deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today."
How Kolfage plans to oversee the building, or partial building, of a southern border wall is not exactly clear. What is clear is that his pitch has seen relatively significant success — the current GoFundMe donations page indicates that the top 10 largest donations to date range from $9,000-$50,000 a piece. Whether he will retain those donations is yet to be seen.