How many of you would describe yourself as kind? It’s not the first adjective that comes to mind for most when thinking of a typical New Yorker, and in a survey conducted last month, only 1% of 1,021 New Yorkers who responded said they would describe themselves as being kind. And yet, new data released by fundraising giant GoFundMe shows that the pandemic has brought out a “New York state of kind.” From January 2020 to March 2021, New Yorkers raised over $150 million on the platform, with donations made roughly every 30 seconds.
Throughout the past year, we’ve highlighted many of these campaigns here on W42ST and witnessed this spirit in action throughout our neighborhood, so we weren’t too surprised by the findings.
Over 44% of New Yorkers donated to support their local businesses and over one-third of all GoFundMe fundraisers were started by New Yorkers for someone else — data points we’ve seen in action time and time again. Take for example theater producer Tom D’Angora, who together with his husband, Michael, and friend and actor, Tim Guinee, spearheaded highly successful campaigns for West Bank Cafe, Birdland, and York Theatre.
“Contrary to what people who aren’t fortunate enough to live here think, New Yorkers are the most kind and generous people on the planet,” D’Angora told us. “I have experienced this first hand almost every day of the last four months. Because of the kindness of New Yorkers we have been able to raise over $1 million and save three iconic NYC venues — if that isn’t kindness, I don’t know what is.”
New Yorkers have also demonstrated consistency in their donations this year. 54% have donated to three or more causes during the pandemic. Over 40% of donations made by New Yorkers on the platform were anonymous and 67% of New Yorkers said they donate because “they like to help those who are less fortunate.”
Here in Hell’s Kitchen, we saw our neighbors rally to raise money for the family of Skyline Deli’s Juan after he passed away from the virus last year, to support the grieving family of young Matthew Pierre who fell from his 20th-floor apartment in October, and to help Hell’s Kitchen super Regis Moore and Vilma Kari after they both suffered brutal attacks last month. Many of these campaigns started locally but received national and even international attention, perhaps none more so than the one for Broadway actor Nick Cordero, who died in July last year after a long battle with coronavirus. The page isn’t accessible anymore, but the GoFundMe set up for his family raised over $1 million.
“The data speaks volumes about the resilience and strong sense of community New Yorkers demonstrated over the past year,” said Emily Wolverton, head of analytics at GoFundMe, in a press release. “With New York City often considered a microcosm of the United States, we’re inspired by the city’s generosity and commitment to uplifting one another that our research uncovered.”
According to the same release, hundreds of billboards with messages about New Yorkers’ acts of kindness via GoFundMe will “blanket city streets and the subway system” during the month of May. Have you seen them?