And now, almost 18 months later, the organizer claims she donated the money to another restaurant – but won’t say which one.

Twenty Manning in 2020 (photo via GoFundMe)

Last year, when COVID-19 forced bars and restaurants in Philadelphia to close, numerous crowdfunding campaigns sprang up online. People wanted to help workers who suddenly found themselves without a job, and crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe provided the perfect solution. So when Twenty Manning, the sister restaurant of longtime Rittenhouse Square favorite Audrey Claire, had to close, none of the employees thought it was in the least weird that a GoFundMe had appeared. to help them. But nearly 18 months later, workers at Twenty Manning have not received any of the funds.

The Twenty Manning GoFundMe launched on April 27, 2020, just over a month after the city Posted a home order.

“These funds will be used to benefit those who have been laid off or on leave due to Philadelphia’s COVID-19 restrictions, which have forced neighborhood restaurants to close,” said the GoFundMe campaign landing page, which made it clear that the campaign was specifically for twenty Manning employees. (This text is no longer publicly available, although donors may see it and Philly Mag may have accessed it.) Exceptional dining experiences for our neighborhood and its visitors, who need our support more than ever.

Danielle Foster, a regular at Twenty Manning, started the fund and set a goal of $ 10,000. According to longtime Twenty Manning bartender Joe Trinkle, Foster hired him to help spread the word.

“She told me she wanted to do this, and I said to go,” Trinkle told Philly Mag. “I had no trouble paying my invoices. Of all the bartenders there, I was probably the safest. But I thought it would be great to help everyone, and in the end some of us decided to give all the money to some of the kitchen staff who couldn’t get unemployment .

In total, the fund raised $ 3,000 through two dozen donations, with increases ranging from $ 20 to $ 1,000. No, not the greatest campaign of all time, but still. Something.

Then months passed.

What followed, starting in October 2020, was a back-and-forth between Foster and Trinkle via text message for several weeks. In those texts, Trinkle told Foster that people were asking about the money Foster had transferred from GoFundMe to his bank account, and Foster offered various reasons for the delays. At the end of November 2020, she said she was expecting a check from her bank. But then, no control.

According to Trinkle and four other Twenty Manning employees we spoke with, they received no money from Foster. And they had no indication from him as to when they might.

“I didn’t have that $ 100 to give,” says one donor, who wishes to remain anonymous. ” I do not have a lot of money.

Another Twenty Manning employee, who asked to remain anonymous, noted that while the amount of money in question is not much, relatively speaking, it still could have been put to good use. “I’m sure the dishwasher widow who died during COVID would have really appreciated any part of the money he should have received,” the employee said.

As for Foster, she initially did not respond to numerous requests for comment on this story. When we finally heard from her, she gave a confusing explanation that “she couldn’t distribute the money evenly among the employees” of Twenty Manning because of the amount raised. And then she said she had donated the money to another restaurant entirely.

We asked him what restaurant it was. She refused to tell us, explaining that she did not want the other restaurant to receive “negative press”. And she added that she would be happy to repay any of the donations, but none of the donors have asked her to.

After contacting GoFundMe about the Twenty Manning campaign, a spokesperson told us that GoFundMe was investigating the case as using funds for anything other than the originally stated purpose would violate the Terms of Service. of the company. Foster is suspended from the platform pending the outcome of this investigation, and GoFundMe says it will refund any donations made at the donor’s request.

“We know that trust is vital for our community and is our top priority,” insisted the spokesperson.


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