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Unofficial wildfire fundraiser mistakenly sends $250,000 to Utah

The money was mistakenly routed to the similarly named Boulder Community Foundation in Boulder, Utah.

BOULDER, Colo. —

A popular Instagram page raising money to aid victims of the Boulder County wildfire erroneously directed more than $250,000 dollars in donations to a non-profit in Utah. 

The campaign appeared to benefit the Boulder County Wildfire Fund, run by the non-profit Community Foundation Boulder County, but the content aggregator Instagram site “I-70 Things” instead routed donations to the similarly named Boulder Community Foundation in Boulder, Utah.

The page’s creator kept the fundraiser going for more than 24 hours after being notified that the donations were not going to help families in Colorado. 

The fundraiser on the "I-70 Things" Instagram page, which has 130,000 followers, had raised $266,189 from 8,960 donors by Saturday evening. The page’s creator and operator, Alejandro Brown of Denver, said he allowed the fundraiser to continue after learning the donations were going to Utah because he believed that he could eventually get the funds routed to the correct non-profit. 

When asked by 9NEWS why the fundraiser was still active, directing donations to the wrong non-profit, Brown said he would take it down. 

“I apologize,” Brown said. “The goal was not to mislead people.” 

Brown said he believed that ending the fundraiser early would refund the donations. 

“I don’t know how I came to that conclusion,” Brown said. “This is the first time I’ve used that feature.” 

The funds raised by “I-70 Things” for Colorado’s wildfire victims are going to the Boulder Community Foundation, which supports civic projects in tiny Boulder, Utah: population 241. 

The non-profit's secretary, Pam Furches, was unaware when contacted by 9NEWS that more than $250,000 had been mistakenly donated to her organization. 

“Oh no,” Furches said. “That is a major problem.” 

Furches said that Brown called Friday evening to tell her about the error but she said she was under the impression that it was just a few donations. 

Furches said the Boulder Community Foundation in Utah, which has one part-time employee, would work as quickly as possible to grant the money to the Boulder County Wildfire Fund. 

“I’m worried about how it will impact taxes,” Furches said. “But we absolutely, 100 percent, will sort this out.” 

>> Next’s Word of Thanks microgiving campaign this week supports the Boulder County Wildfire Fund administered by Community Foundation Boulder County, give here. 

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