GoFundMe says help for animals is one of its fastest growing categories, with over $50 million raised for dogs and cats, including $1.8 million donated this year. Among the recipients is Gilbert-based Love Heals Rescue, which wants for $6,000 to help Pumpkin, a puppy with the often-fatal virus parvo. (Courtesy GoFundMe.com)

Christmas isn’t the only season for giving and spreading kindness.

For crowdfunding platforms it’s a year-long activity, as it is for the largest and better known GoFundMe.

Since its launch in 2010, the California-based GoFundMe has become the go-to online fundraising tool for charities and just about anybody who wants the public to help bankroll their expenses.

Within minutes someone can set up a money request on the global site, which to date has helped individuals and charities raise over $25 billion, according to GoFundMe, which did not respond to questions for the story.

The requests this year for donations run the gamut from classroom supplies and Girl Scout projects to relief efforts for crisis events such as Hurricane Ian in Florida and the war in Ukraine.

The “Stand with Ukraine” fundraiser launched by actors Mila and Ashton Kutcher in partnership with GoFundMe is the platform’s second-largest campaign of all time, raising $37 million from over 75,000 donors.

For 2022, there’s been a 110% increase in money raised for baby formula, a 60% increase for gasoline and a 10% increase for groceries, GoFundMe reported.

With a donation made every second, 28 million people so far this year have sent or received funding, the public nonprofit said.

In Gilbert, over 500 people and groups have set up an account on the platform.

Most requests are for help with funeral expenses, memorials or medical bills such as for a dad of six children.

A Gilbert woman set up an account for the Valley man and his family after he suffered a massive heart failure in October and is in the hospital fighting for his life. To help with expenses, she set a goal of $200,000 with $120,777 raised so far for the family.

And then there’s the sister in Gilbert who is raising money to help bury her brother, who died unexpectedly. She’s received $1,147 of her $20,000 request.

According to GoFundMe, one in three fundraisers is started for someone else.

Another popular ask in Gilbert is for animals – to help with things such as rescue efforts, medical expenses, fostering costs for horses saved from abuse and slaughter, and physical therapy costs for Serenity, “the broken kitten” with a bum leg.

Over 20 donors gave a total $1,500 toward the $2,000 needed for Serenity.

There’s also the Gilbert-based Love Heals Rescue asking for $6,000 to help Pumpkin, a puppy with the often-fatal virus parvo.

Pumpkin, the group said, was born to a mother who was never vaccinated and her entire litter of seven puppies was exposed. Pumpkin tested positive for parvo and another litter mate is now showing signs of the virus.

Vet visits and meds run about $1,000 per puppy, according to the rescue. So far, $3,521 was raised for the cause.

And there’s the 16-year-old teen who is hoping the community will come through with $780 to help pay for surgery for her 2-year-old chameleon. She’s received $150.

One of the success stories involves Gilbert Dogs 24/7, which surpassed its fundraising goal of $1,170 to send Ryker, a 3-year-old German Shepherd for month-long training so he’ll get adopted. The dog was surrendered at the boarding and daycare facility in January and has fear issues with new people.

GoFundMe said help for animals is one of its fastest growing categories and that there are more repeat donations made to these fundraisers than any other fundraising category.

To date, over $50 million have been raised for dogs and cats with $1.8 million donated this year.

Education is another popular money-giving category.

A high-achieving high school student in Gilbert is asking the community to help with paying $3,200 to complete a Spanish immersion trip to Costa Rica for his school break in 2024. He’s gotten $450 so far.

And a dad is requesting $2,500 to help send his 8th-grade daughter on a school trip to Washington, D.C. He’s received $270.

And then there’s a Gilbert woman asking for $50,000 to send a mom of two children, who earned a Harvard degree online, to Columbia University for a graduate degree. She’s received $20.

Additionally, GoFundMe’s received over $400,000 in donations to LGBTQ+ causes.

There’s a $3,000 request to fund student walkouts planned locally in Gilbert, Mesa and Chandler for items such as megaphones, water and banners. No date is given for the walkouts and so far, $1,650 was raised.

The organizer said the walkouts are to protest two new state laws that “marginalize LGBTQ students in favor of parents rights.”

There’re also four requests to help pay for gender-reassignment surgeries, including one from a transgender man needing top surgery. The Gilbert man raised $850 of his $10,000 goal.

Some atypical requests include a Gilbert man asking for $50,000 to help support his family when he starts serving a two-year prison term. The man – no court records were readily found for him in Maricopa County – didn’t receive a dime.

A 67-year-old man is seeking $150,000 to buy out his soon-to-be ex’s share of their home. Apparently, she sprung the divorce on him a few weeks back and wants to sell but he loves the house and neighborhood and wants to keep the home.

Also, a Gilbert woman received $800 of her $10,000 goal for skin surgery after an extreme weight loss and another woman achieved $620 of her $10,500 goal for legal fees to obtain a Green Card.

There’s also fundraising accounts set up for the two Gilbert cops – Officer Rico Aranda wounded in the line of duty and Sgt. Tom Edgerton injured in an off-duty motorcycle accident.

The online requests in town go from needs to wants in some cases.

One man is attempting to raise $5,000 for a “brother in Christ” and cites a number of Biblical verses about the joy of giving. He doesn’t give a clear reason for the fundraiser or what the money will be used for yet eight donors gave $3,650.

And a woman who found spiritual enlightenment wants the community to come together and give her $1,500 to go through training so she can “lead other women through the process of connecting with the Spirit.”

“I ask that you help me on this journey of raising money so we can glorify Him and His creation throughout every aspect of our lives,” she writes. So far, she’s received $20.

One man is hoping to raise $200 to help his older brother repair his car after “he had a stroke of stupidity and made an expensive mistake.” He received $5.

While another is asking for $5,000 to help pay off his and his girlfriend’s debts. His request garnered zilch.

And another person is asking for $400 to help replace his AirPods, which were accidentally flushed down the toilet. He, too, got just $5.

An expectant mother is asking for $125,000 to help pay for items her baby will need such as diapers, wipes and blankets. A donor gave $5.

One of the largest requests comes from a woman who’s seeking to raise $1 million so she can retire and spend time with her grandchildren. She explains that she needs open-heart surgery and is fearful her days are numbered. So far, she’s raised $20.

A number of political requests also can be found for Gilbert such as from a woman wanting to raise $1 million to send those entering the county illegally to sanctuary cities – those with a policy that discourage local law enforcement from reporting the immigration status of individuals.

“This money will be used directly for transportation from border states to sanctuary cities across the United States of America,” the Gilbert woman wrote. She’s received $25 for her effort.

The global crowdfunding market is projected to almost triple by 2025, according to Fundly, another crowdfunding site. Other crowdfunding sites include Donorbox, Kickstarter, Crowdfunder, Indiegogo and a host of others.

Globally, $34 billion has been raised through these platforms, according to Fundly.