Here's Where Your Crackstarter Money Is GoingS

As you may recall, roughly six weeks ago we succeeded in raising $200,000 from readers in an effort to purchase and publish a video of Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. I'm disappointed to announce definitively that the money won't be going to purchase and publish a video of Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. (For an explanation as to why, go here.) Instead, we are pursuing the Plan B we laid out when we began the project: donating the funds to Canadian organizations that address the fallout from substance abuse.

The total take from Crackstarter was $201,199. Indiegogo, the service that hosted the campaign, withheld $8,047.96 in fees. PayPal, which processed the payments, withheld $8,368.43. That left the Crackstarter with a net take of $184,782.61, which has been held in a non-interest bearing account since PayPal released the money to us.

We are splitting this sum four ways, with $46,195.65 going to each of the following organizations.

The Somali Canadian Association of Etobicoke

The Somali Canadian Association of Etobicoke is a 25-year-old nonprofit community organization aimed at improving the lives of Somali immigrants and refugees in Toronto's Etobicoke neighborhood and beyond. The association is launching a Somali Youth Leadership Program, which will attempt to use sports, recreational activities, and volunteerism to foster a sense of civic and community pride among Somali-Canadian youth and combat drug and gang activity in Etobicoke. The Crackstarter donation will be earmarked for the Youth Leadership Program. To contribute to the association, please contact executive director Osman Ali at osman.ali@somalicanadian.com, or send donations to Somali Canadian Association of Etobicoke, 202-925 Albion Road, Etobicoke, Ontario M9V 1A6.

The South Riverdale Community Health Center

SRCHC is a community-based non-profit outreach organization offering medical and social services to much of southeast Toronto. It operates a harm reduction program aimed at stabilizing the lives of drug users through needle exchanges, crack kits, counseling referrals, job referrals, and other help. The Crackstarter donation will be earmarked toward SRCHC's drug programs. To donate additional funds, please contact chief executive officer Lynne Raskin at lraskin@srchc.com.

Unison Health and Community Services

Unison is, like SRCHC, a community-based non-profit health center offering integrated social and health services serving much of northern Toronto. Like SRCHC, it operates a harm reduction program aimed at "breaking the isolation" of drug users, offering needle exchanges, crack kits, and referrals to social services and detox programs. It also runs violence interruption programs directed against gang activity in high-risk neighborhoods. The Crackstarter donation will be earmarked toward Unison's drug programs. To contribute to Unison's programs, please contact Ana Garcia at (416) 787-1676 ext. 257.

Ontario Regional Addictions Partnership Committee

The Ontario Regional Addictions Partnership Committee facilitates, advocates for, and guides the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program in Ontario. NNADAP is focused on treating drug and alcohol abuse among members of Canada's indigenous populations. The funds will go toward purchasing equipment and training drug and alcohol counsellors. Because ORAPC and NNADAP are primarily funded by government grants and don't fundraise from the public, they are not legally established in Canada as non-profits. But after reviewing ORAPC's audited financial statements, I am satisfied that it effectively operates as one and that all of the funds will be used to offer services to people struggling with addiction.

[Image by Jim Cooke]