American comedian Brad Williams has announced that he will direct the proceeds of an anti-bullying fundraiser – launched in support of nine-year-old Murri boy Quaden Bayles – to six non-profits.
Each of the not-for-profits organisations will receive around US$66,000 of the total US$474,569 raised, with the remainder going towards a fund for future medical and support expenses for Quaden.
The remaining funds will go towards direct medical help, education, accommodation costs, food to feed the family, and for donating to any additional charities of their choosing.
“I have been in close communication with Quaden’s family and fully respect their needs and the needs of Australian First Nations people who are experiencing bullying and discrimination at extremely high rates. Because of this, I’ve decided that the donations will be best served going to charities focused on helping individuals affected by bullying and discrimination”
The organisations that will receive the funding are the Born This Way Foundation, STOMP Out Bullying, Dolly’s Dream, Dwarfism Awareness Australia, Gallang Place and Balunu Healing Foundation.
Mr Williams also said that donors may contact the crowdfunding site if they are not satisfied with the decision.
“If you preferred that your donation would be used to send Quaden to Disneyland and would like a refund, please contact the GoFundMe Customer Happiness,” he said in a statement.
Mr Williams finished his statement by thanking everyone who contributed since the campaign was launched on February 21 after a video of Quaden’s reaction to a schoolyard bullying incident went viral around the globe.
In his announcement on Friday, Mr Williams thanked supporters of the campaign, describing them as “kind and awesome human beings”.
“Bullies never win, and this fundraising effort shows that when bullies attack, communities stand proudly for what's right,” he said.
"ORGANISATIONS THAT REALLY NEED IT”
In an exclusive interview with NITV News on Thursday, Quaden’s family announced that it would decline a trip to Disneyland – the original goal of the fundraiser – and requested that Mr Williams use the funds raised to support “grass-roots organisations”.
Quaden’s aunty, Mundanara Bayles, said while the family was initially excited about the trip, they came to the decision to focus on the bigger issues at play.
"What kid wouldn't want to go to Disneyland, especially if you have lived Quaden's life. To escape to anywhere that is fun that doesn't remind him of his day to day challenges," she said.
"But my sister said, 'you know what, let's get back to the real issue'.
“This little fella has been bullied. How many suicides, black or white, in our society have happened due to bullying.
"We want the money to go to community organisations that really need it. They know what the money should be spent on. So as much as we want to go to Disneyland, I think our community would far off benefit from that."
Ms Bayles said the whole community needs to work together to ensure “other young people like Quaden don't have to deal with what they have been dealing with," she said.
"We've had seven kids at the Murri School in Brisbane, where I am on the board, take their lives in the last ten years."
Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline crisis support on 13 11 14, visit lifeline.org.au or find an Aboriginal Medical Service here. Resources for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders can be found at Headspace: Yarn Safe.