I will confess to you that I was skeptical when Guy Benson said yesterday that he was hoping to raise such a large amount of money for Mary Katharine and her children. Even for two people as beloved as her and Jake, even with readers as compassionate as ours, it’s a lot to ask. I thought if we kept promoting the fund steadily, we might get there in a month or so. At the very least, maybe we could get halfway before people lost interest.
It took about 26 hours to hit the target. On behalf of everyone at Hot Air and Townhall, I want to thank all of you who donated for your remarkable kindness. Guy, who’s been with Mary Katharine since she got the news on Saturday, told me this morning that one of the few moments that brought some relief to Jake’s family yesterday amid their horrendous pain was learning that so many people had donated to make sure his little ones would be provided for. It’s one thing for those of us who know and love MK to contribute, it’s another for those who’ll never meet her to give out of compassion for two children who’ve lost a daddy one will barely remember and the other will never know. You’ve showed tremendous mercy to them at a moment of terrible suffering for their family, which I’m sure is a great comfort to their mother. I know Mary Katharine will thank you herself once she’s well enough to write.
Some people have asked for clarification of what Guy meant when he wrote on the GoFundMe page that the proceeds will be used for the children as well as other causes that Jake cared about, like the Travis Manion Foundation for families of fallen soldiers. He told me that that was at Mary Katharine’s insistence: She didn’t want people to think she’d keep any money for herself, so she was informing donors up front that any excess above and beyond what’s needed for the care and education of the children will be donated to charity. That’s what kind of person she is. At a moment of supreme horror and panic, she thought of how she might do some good for others too.
The fund will be held open for anyone who’s hearing the news about Jake just now and is moved to contribute. The target figure was picked by Guy because, I assume, it represents a familiar estimate of what it costs to put two children through college — $100,000 apiece, or so the conventional wisdom goes. The parents reading this know better from experience, I suspect. This page shows how much one year of tuition, room, board, and books costs at Mary Katharine’s alma mater of the University of Georgia. It’s already in excess of $25,000 even at the lower rate for state residents. Where it’ll be in 15-20 years, lord only knows — and all of this assumes that Mary Katharine won’t need to touch the principal to cope with the many other child-care expenses a single mom is faced with. Point being, if you’re inclined to give, don’t let the fact that the target has been hit stop you. Wherever this fundraiser finishes, she’ll need every penny in time, I’m sure.
You can leave a comment for Mary Katharine at the GoFundMe page once you’ve donated. I’m going to close this thread because, as it turns out, even a space for condolences for someone as widely admired as her can’t be kept completely troll-free without some policing. Thank you all again for your wonderful generosity.