Catastrophe can bring out the best in us: generosity, altruism,
and a sense of fellowship with perfect strangers and entire
communities. For far fewer of us, tragedy also means opportunity to
play off people's sympathies and exploit them for personal gain.
Then there are the inbetweeners who do their part to help but not
necessarily out of selflessness. Charity tax deductions aside, some
giving comes with strings mighty enough to tether an ocean liner to
the dock. Take
) in the wake of Superstorm Sandy: Nearly a week passed before the
corporations pledged supplies to the relief effort and, when they
did, they required a regular-program-interrupting
to make sure all of our consumer eyeballs saw it.
Here, Minyanville takes a look at the various examples of
do-gooding and do-badding in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon
Just as the good guys wasted no time getting to work to help
others, so did the fraudsters waste no time getting to work to help
themselves. According to
, as of 7 p.m. EDT last Monday, at least 125 Boston
Marathon-related domain names were registered with many deceptively
acting as charity sites.
Thomas Shaffer of Fort Worth, Texas, created
bostonmarathonrelief.com; Bostonmarathonvictimfund.com and
bostonmarathonvictimsrelieffund.com were registered by Jason Ischia
of Melrose, Massachusetts; Earl Sranton, of Scranton, Pennsylvania,
nabbed Bostonrelief2013.com; and bostonmarathondonation.com,
bostonmarathondonations.com, bostonmarathonfund.com, and
donatetoboston.com were privately registered at namecheap.com.
A suspicious underscore, a conspicuous lack of followers, and a new
and unverified status called out @_BostonMarathon and its pledge
"For every retweet we receive we will donate $1.00 to the
#BostonMarathon victims #PrayForBoston." The account
was found to be a fake
and Twitter swiftly shut it down.
The immediacy of digital media brought the horrific aftermath of
the explosions in photo form all over the Web in no time at all.
So-called author Steve Goldstein used his right click savvy to save
more than 60 of those images from the Associated Press, Getty, and
New York Times
in eBook form
. The following day,
Boston Bombing (First Photos)
was available on
) as a digital Kindle download for $7.99.
Bob Carey, former president of the National Press Photographers
Association (NPPA), spotted the listing, downloaded it, and found
it be be "as disgusting as it appeared" (complete with Goldstein's
copyright). The matter was brought to the attention of the
appropriate parties and their lawyers. Within an hour, Amazon
pulled it from its online catalog.
Thanks to Steven Brill's brilliant
in last February's
magazine about the senselessly prohibitive costs of health care, it
seems hospitals and insurance companies stand to make the biggest
charitable impact to this tragedy. Estimates of the medical costs
to treat victims' physical injuries alone are expected to hover
) gesture to
open support lines
to victims, regardless of insurance coverage, in need of phone
counseling and emotional support, is certainly a kind one, maybe
there's just a smidge more that the
$900 billion private insurance industry
could do in cooperation with hospitals to curb these mounting
Within minutes of the Tsarnaev brothers' alleged attacks near the
finish line of the race, donations to assist the city and its over
170 wounded victims with mounting medical bills started pouring in
from individuals as well as the business community. To date, more
has been raised by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston
Mayor Tom Menin's non-profit
Hit at home, New England's sports franchises were some of the first
to spring into action with financial relief. Owners of the
) family, have pledged to
match the first $100,000 in donations
made to the New England Revolution Charitable Foundations.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox, Major League Baseball, and the MLB Players
Association made a
$646,500 joint contribution
and will also give 100% of proceeds from the sale of baseball caps
bearing the "B Strong" emblem.
Likewise, the Boston Marathon's official sponsor
) is kicking in $750,000 from the sale of limited edition "Boston
stands as one" T-shirts that have reportedly
already sold out
with more currently in production. The profits from this year's
batch of the the
(SAM) annual marathon brew, the Samuel Adams Boston 26.2, are also
going to the relief effort.
$1 million gift-givers
include the Boston-headquartered
John Hancock Financial
(T), former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, and
State Street Corporation's
(STT), which is expected to raise seven figures with a $500,000
foundation donation along with matching donations from all
employees. Twenty miles west of Boston in Framingham, mega retailer
(TJX) has pledged a half million.
Fundraising websites like GoFundMe.com and GiveForward.com are also
being earmarked for victims of the bombings. Brooke Gibbs'
Bucks for Bauman!
page has raised over $577,000 to help her friend, double amputee,
and star witness Jeff Bauman Jr., pay for surgery and medical
bills. Seriously injured mother and daughter Celeste and Sydney
Corcoran will also have $577,000 and counting, thanks to a
created by Alyssa Carter.
According to a study conducted by the Society of Human Resource
Management in 2011, prosthetics are covered by 70% to 75% of
employer-sponsored insurance plans. For those who are not covered
by insurance, prosthetics can cost approximately $40,000 per limb.
Gibb's fundraising goal for Bauman is $1 million.
The tech industry's charity organization, Technology Underwriting
Greater Good (TUGG), exceeded its
$200,000 fundraising goal
and is seeding 100% of its fees to programs identified by the
Mayor's office, hospitals, and responder teams as being most in
To a far lesser extent, major airlines and hotel chains
eased some of the penalty burdens
on travelers whose reservations needed amending after the bombings.
Among the participating airlines were AirTran,
(HOT) hotels also let guests off the hook for fees normally
incurred for canceling or leaving early.