BY KIM VUGA
APRIL 27, 2020
Celeste Barber's bushfire fundraiser raised millions attracting more than $51 million dollars.
This was an absolutely fantastic effort by one individual, and rightly so Celeste should be commended. However, the end result of Celeste’s efforts and well meaning intended fundraiser continues to cause more grief than good.
Celeste launched a fundraiser on Facebook on January 3, with an original target of $30,000 set up to benefit the NSW Rural Fire Service, (RFS).
The Facebook fundraiser page had very clearly stipulated that the money would go to the Trustee for the RFS and Brigades Donations Fund.
All was good until Celeste Barber decided to update donators telling them the following:
Barber posted a video message to her 6.5 million Instagram followers lashing out at those who had questioned where the money was going.
“It seems raising a f. k-tonne of money comes with a f. k-tonne of people telling you what you should do with it,” she declared.
She then gave her personal guarantee that all the donations to the RFS would be “distributed out” from there.
"So, I'm going to make sure that Victoria gets some, that South Australia gets some, also families of people who have died in these fires, the wildlife.
Unfortunately, Celeste doesn’t get to call the shots even though she raised a staggering $51m plus of donations.
The NSW RFS Donations Trust is not legally allowed to provide donated funds to other charities and the trustees are bound by the trust deed, which says where the funds should go to in the way of fire-fighting equipment, facilities, training resources and or to meet the administrative expense of the brigade which are associated with their volunteer based service activities.
The RFS were incredibly grateful for Celeste’s efforts however, Celeste demanding that the money be divvied up and distributed to other states, the wildlife and families who had lost loved ones caused a major headache and ton of negativity for the RFS through no fault of their own.
Celeste Barber has since been contacted by various media outlets repeatedly for clarification about the fundraiser with her publicist stating that Celeste was declining all media requests.
Donors of the Celeste Barber fundraiser are continuing to ask Celeste where the money is going. Some donors are even asking for their donation back. With others stating,
‘I knew where my donation was going, it was clearly written and I’m happy with that”.
In other words, the above donor was well aware that all funds raised were going to the NSW RFS.
It only become confusing to the many donors when Celeste decided to tell everyone on the page that she would distribute the money amongst other groups and individuals, with new donors then believing that the money would go to many other worthy groups in need, including the RFS.
Celeste somehow herself believed that because it was her fundraiser, she set up, that she had the power to change the course of where the money would be directed and how the monies would be spent. However, that was not the case and it would be up to the NSW RFS to decide what they want to do with the money.
The Celeste Barber case has caused many people in the public to lose confidence when it comes to donating, which will no doubt cause problems in the future with people rethinking if they should or shouldn’t donate to important causes.
Celeste has already mentioned that she wants the matter dealt with in the courts however, if this happens it will no doubt be a very lengthy and expensive case that will chew up a sizable amount of monies raised. This is most definitely going to rattle the donors who will be even more furious that their donation hasn’t been passed on to the intended recipients.
Celeste had all good intentions, however misled the donors with many people left furious after she changed the course of the funds, now ending up in an expensive and lengthy legal battle that the RFS could do without, all because Celeste couldn’t get her own way.
Celeste was able to grab a few headlines along the way politicising her cause when she took aim at Prime Minister Scott Morrison when she hosted in February the Fire Fight Australia concert when she said.
“Our volunteers across this entire country, they are the ones who saved us,” Barber told the crowd.
“As Aussies, we band together because we have to look after each other — because it turns out people at the top don’t,” she said.
“God knows people in power haven’t really done much. It is the people making the change and specifically it’s our volunteers.
“Thank you. I’m sorry you had to do it all on your own, we love you.”
Celeste might think she is hilarious, given the comedian she is, however Celeste has made such a huge mess of the entire fundraising ordeal that has left the donors definitely not amused at Celeste at all.
Right now, none of the funds are able to be used to support Victoria, South Australia or families of people who have died in the fires, or wildlife groups that Celeste had promised the donors.
The funds raised are only able to be distributed by the NSW RFS Donations Trust.
The only way that this case can be resolved and stop any other celebrities or individuals misleading the public is to set up a National Trust that can be used in times of emergency so that the government can control and distribute the funds to where they are most needed. This way the all monies raised can be evenly distributed and transparent.
UPDATE ON WHAT HAPPENED IN COURT 26th May, 2020:
BUSHFIRE APPEAL: SHOW THEM THE MONEY! PART1
RED CROSS: SHOW THEM THE MONEY! Part 2
ST VINCENTS DE PAUL (ST VINNIES): SHOW THEM THE MONEY! Part 3 https://www.loveaustraliaorleave.com.au/post/st-vincents-de-paul-st-vinnies-show-them-the-money-part-3
SALVATION ARMY: SHOW THEM THE MONEY Part 4
JOIN US - JOIN OUR PARTY HERE: FREE MEMBERSHIP AVAILABLE DUE TO COVID-19
CLICK HERE: FREE MEMBERSHIP