The campaign, which was started in December by Iraq veteran and right-wing activist Brian Kolfage, was meant to be an end-run around the congressional stalemate over the wall and let Trump supporters pay for it directly, and as of Friday has raised almost $20.2 million (about 2 percent of the $1 billion goal, and 0.08 percent of the amount experts say it would actually require to build the wall).
Kolfage has set up a fundraising goal of $1 billion to help pay for a physical barrier along the southern border.
GoFundMe Director of North America Communications Bobby Whithorne said in a statement that all donors will automatically receive a refund unless they decide to send the money to Kolfage's nonprofit, which is classified by the IRS as a "social welfare organization".
The non-profit company, We Build the Wall, Inc., is led by Kolfage and other prominent anti-immigration activists including private security expert and regular Trump consultant Erik Prince; David Clarke, the former Milwaukee sheriff and a favorite of Trump; and Kris Kobach, the conservative secretary of state of Kansas. I am honoring that commitment today.
Brian Kolfage, a triple amputee and Purple Heart recipient, reportedly previously spearheaded a crowdfunding campaign that raised thousands of dollars for an effort to mentor veterans at military hospitals.
Kolfage gave donors the option of giving their GoFundMe contribution to himself and a team he assembled to privately construct the border wall.
Donors will have to proactively choose to hand over the donation to Kolfage's group.
In a statement on January 11, Kolfage explained the choice to create a 501 (c)(4). However, Kolfage announced he's still determined to build the wall on his own. "I personally will not take a penny of compensation from these donations incurred in the furtherance of this mission".
In the Friday update on the GoFundMe page, the group said it had come to the conclusion that the federal government wouldn't be able to accept their donations anytime soon.
He added that they've been working to identify possible locations to start building the border wall, reaching out to affected landowners and studying ways to build the wall as cheaply and efficiently as possible.
U.S President Donald Trump's border wall prototypes stand near the U.S. -Mexico border in San Diego, Calif., on July 16, 2018.
The team also believes it can "complete our segments" of the border wall in half the time.