Digging out of a (doughnut) hole, GoFundMe raises nearly $8K so far | TheUnion.com

Digging out of a (doughnut) hole, GoFundMe raises nearly $8K so far

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To donate to the Grass Valley Charter School Foundation, go to http://www.gofundme.com/grass-valley-charter-school-foundation. For more information on the Blue Marble Jubilee, go to https://bluemarblejubilee.org/.

Thanks to a GoFundMe launched by local law enforcement, the Grass Valley Charter School Foundation has already recouped the costs of its major fundraiser, the Blue Marble Jubilee.

The children’s festival, which emphasizes ecological awareness, was scheduled for May 11 but was canceled after a bizarre conspiracy theory by QAnon gained traction online.

After a tweet by former FBI Director James Comey listed five jobs he has held, conspiracy theorists found the word “Jihad” in the hashtag and the acronym GVCSF (Grass Valley Charter School Foundation) in the first letters of the jobs. People across the country began contacting the South Auburn Street school, claiming a link to the Blue Marble Jubilee and questioning whether the annual event faced threat of attack.

On May 2, the school foundation made the decision to cancel the event “out of an abundance of caution,” noting the jubilee usually makes between $20,000 and $25,000, funds that would have helped refurbish a multi-purpose room.

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The story went viral, with news outlets including the BBC and The New York Times reporting the discredited “plot.” Last week, however, Grass Valley Police Chief Alex Gammelgard, Nevada City Police Chief Chad Ellis and Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon launched a GoFundMe to give the “bizarre story” a sweeter ending.

The trio promised to eat one doughnut hole for every $100 raised. The GoFundMe will run through June 7, the last day of school, and 100 percent of the money raised will go to the Grass Valley School Foundation.

After less than three days, the online fundraiser had reached $7,845 — nearly 80 doughnut holes each.

“It’s very exciting,” school foundation president Wendy Willoughby said. “The kids are watching (the numbers) in hot anticipation.”

Willoughby said Moon, Ellis and Gammelgard will eat their doughnuts in a event that likely will be streamed on Facebook Live, adding the logistics have not yet been worked out.

The Blue Marble Jubilee has received some donations directly to its website as well.

“It was between $2,000 and $2,500 as of last week,” Willoughby said. “With the two (donation sites), we are probably very close to covering our costs. Anything over that would be gravy. We might not be able to fund the larger projects, but maybe we can make some smaller purchases.”

Typically, artwork created by the charter school students is sold during the jubilee and all of those pieces were ready to go, she said.

“We’re looking at launching an online auction of the art this week,” Willoughby said. “There are some wonderful pieces, such as origami butterfly shadow boxes.”

Parents will get first crack at the pieces before the auction is opened to the public on the website, she said, adding those sales will be added to the other donations raised.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lkellar@theunion.com.

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