Donald Trump Launches Crowdfunding Site, Gives Away Suitcases Of Cash

Donald Trump has helped launch a new entry in the growing crowdfunding market with a typically classy event at New York’s Trump Tower.

The business mogul is currently promoting FundAnything, a potential rival to the likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The twist with FundAnything? Trump has pledged to fully fund some of the projects himself.

Gawker reported on Wednesday’s event, which saw around 1,000 people descend on the Trump Tower lobby to plead for The Donald’s dollars.

As he promised on his Twitter feed, Trump doled out suitcases of cash: $40,000 went to a woman raising money for her husband’s double lung transplant, $25,000 to a singer-songwriter from Nashville making an album, and $15,000 to a children’s party business that aimed to hold a weekend for kids impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

But the money-grab was only just beginning. Gawker reports:

“Then came the checks. A security team assembled the small group from the lobby into a kind of line. Trump then asked each of them directly, ‘Do you need money? What’s your problem?’ The answers varied from ‘My mother is sick with cancer’ to ‘I’m behind on my rent.’ After distilling the ten greatest sob stories from the pack, he began to sign and give away $5,000 checks. ‘Give it to your mother,’ he said to one. ‘Don’t spend it all in one place,’ he jokingly warned another.”

And still there was more. Back in the lobby, those remaining were urged to line up by a huge aquarium filled with bills – ranging from dollar bills to hundreds – and told to file past the tank, grabbing as much dough as their sweaty hands could grasp. Only fists were permitted, with no bags allowed.

Speaking to AllThingsD in a phone interview Wednesday, Trump said:

“So many people need help, and this is a good way of doing it by helping very specific problems. It’s something different that could be pinpointed.”

Despite what the launch event might suggest, FundAnything isn’t actually Trump’s brainchild, but belongs to Learning Annex founder Bill Zanker. He told AllThingsD he hoped to introduce crowdfunding to the many millions unfamiliar with the concept:

“Crowdfunding got traction with creatives and tech, but you go anywhere but the coasts and they don’t get it yet. What I’m trying to do is bring crowdfunding away from the Brooklyn hipsters and bring it to the masses.

“We want to make it so we are the brand that everybody knows. There’s a wonderful way to pass the hat online, and nobody knows about it.”