Hamlin Charity Taps The Giving Back Fund as Donations Top $8M

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation has partnered with The Giving Back Fund, a national charity umbrella organization, to handle the deluge of donations raised in the wake of Hamlin’s on-field collapse Monday night.

In an email to Sportico, Hamlin’s marketing representative, Jordon Rooney, said that the new Chasing M’s Foundation Charitable Fund will facilitate all of the “contributions, activities and allocations from Jan 2, 2023, and going forward.”

Among other purposes, the partnership is designed to bring the outpouring of philanthropy under the umbrella of a fully vested federal charity. Chasing M’s, which Hamlin started while in college, is currently only registered as a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation.

Meanwhile, Rooney said, Chasing M’s is now undergoing the process of registering with the IRS to become its own 501(c) entity, a process that includes the essential task of creating a board of directors.

“Given the sudden, surprising generosity that has come from people all over the world, the family is now advancing the process to complete the nonprofit status for the original entity, including the thoughtful selection of board members, who will be announced in the coming weeks, as [Hamlin’s] health allows,” Rooney said.

Typically, the IRS allows a charity up to 27 months to retroactively apply for its tax-exempt status. Hamlin initially founded Chasing M’s in May 2020, which would put it outside that window. However, the IRS commissioner can extend the time to file beyond that deadline if an organization can show good cause.

Rooney confirmed that none of the money raised will go to Hamlin’s medical care. On Saturday, the Bills released a statement saying that Hamlin remains in critical condition but has continued to make progress since a breathing tube was removed on Friday.

By Saturday afternoon, the GoFundMe campaign that Hamlin launched over two years ago, soliciting $2,500 for a daycare center toy drive, had raised more than $8.2 million, with almost all of those proceeds coming in response to his medical emergency. Joanne Pasternack, a representative of The Giving Back Fund, said her organization is now working directly with GoFundMe to bring all those moneys and any new donations under the Chasing M’s Charitable Fund, which has unveiled a campaign page on its processing portal, Give Lively.

(This story has been updated to include the response from The Giving Back Fund, clarify that the IRS can extend the 27-month waiting period, and to more accurately describe Give Lively.)

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