CLEVELAND - Cleveland council member Matt Zone is left overwhelmed by the donations made thus far to survivors Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight and Amanda Berry and her daughter.
Thus far, the Cleveland Courage Fund of the Cleveland Foundation, established by Cleveland council members Brian Cummins, Matt Zone and Dona Brady, has raised more than $23,000.
"What I love about Cleveland is we're just a can-do community," said Councilman Matt Zone. "And not only people from Cleveland, people from all over the United States and quite frankly the world have responded in such a positive way."
Zone urged continued donations.
"As a community and a society we generally tend to get involved right after something happens," said Zone. "But these young ladies are going to need help next year, three years from now, five years from now.
Donations to the fund will go to qualified nonprofit organizations to benefit the survivors and their families.
Under IRS rules, when funds are donated directly to individuals, the recipients must pay taxes on that money. The survivors and their families do not need to pay taxes on services received from nonprofits.
The Cleveland Foundation will not assess fees on this fund, so all money raised will go to help survivors and their families. Donors can give online at http://clevelandfoundation.org/courage
Donations may also be mailed to:
Cleveland Courage Fund
c/o the Cleveland Foundation
1422 Euclid Ave., Suite 1300
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
The Cleveland Foundation will issue a tax receipt for all donations received.
Meanwhile a second fund has been created, called The Cleveland Courage Fund, at Key Bank.
This is a separate fund, not affiliated with the Cleveland Foundation. This fund, too, will benefit survivors and their families through nonprofit organizations. People can personally drop off donations at any Key branch in northeast Ohio or nationwide.
At the same time,, Cleveland police are handling and distribution of gifts to the homes of the kidnapping victims.
Police are asking that in order to give the women their privacy, that people not drop off cards or gifts at their homes.
"We don't want cash, and we really prefer you don't bring anything perishable, so no food items," said Cleveland Police Detective Jennifer Ciaccia. "Also nothing extensively large, if you have something big, we ask that you call first."
Gifts for Amanda Berry, excluding cash, can be dropped off at the First District, located at 3895 West 130th Street in Cleveland.
Cards and gifts for Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, excluding cash, can be dropped off at the Second District, located at 3481 Fulton Road. Please clearly mark packages with the girl's names and "Care of Commander Sulzer."