Sunday, October 30, 2011

‘1%’ proving Occupy Wall Street protesters right when it comes to donations

Very wealthy not very generous to demonstrators

Saturday, October 29 2011, 7:30 PM

Demonstrators briefly sat outside a barricade across Wall St. in Manhattan, NY, until the police threatened them with arrest.
Kevin Hagen for News

Demonstrators briefly sat outside a barricade across Wall St. until the police threatened them with arrest.

When it comes to Occupy Wall Street donations, the "one percent" are proving the protesters 100% right.

People with annual earnings of a quarter-million dollars or more donated just 1.39% of the $325,000 given nationally to the grass roots movement, according to figures from online fund-raiser WePay.

The self-proclaimed "99 percent" living in parks and plazas from coast to coast have received most of their financial support from the middle class since the first Occupy-affiliated account opened Aug. 5.

People earning between $35,000 and $100,000 were most likely to redistribute their wealth, providing nearly 60% of the donations, WePay figures show.

"The middle class is really giving the bulk of the money," said WePay CEO Bill Clerico, who left his job as an investment banker to start the company in 2008. "In the last 30 days, donations have really snowballed as more movements have joined Occupy Wall Street."

The OWS campaign calls for an end to corporate greed by the people they brand the "one percent" of the country's wealthiest earners.

To join the exclusive club, Americans needed a minimum income of $516,633 in 2010, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Money from 37 countries has poured into the WePay account for the Occupy movements. Donations have arrived from as far away as Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Japan.

The smallest pledges of $5 came from individual donors in Lithuania and the Virgin Islands, while Canadians have sent the most money - 88 people giving a total of $4,015, figures show.

Residents of all 50 states gave donated to the movement, with Connecticut ranked as the state with the highest average donation ($65.15), followed by Hawaii ($60.78) and New Jersey ($59.97).

North Dakota has made the lowest average contribution to the Occupy cause with $16.25, followed by Arkansas at $20.50.

Men, by a nearly 2-1 margin, are more likely to donate to Occupy Wall Street than women.

Pledges to Occupy Wall Street specifically, as opposed to sit-ins in cities outside New York, surged by nearly $30,000 on Oct. 17 - the one-month anniversary of the occupation of Zuccotti Park.

Police clashes with demonstrators also caused spikes in cash, with donations from Massachusetts rising 408% on Oct. 11, the day cops arrested 141 protesters.

WePay operates in a fashion similar to PayPal, and takes a 3.5% cut of the funds.

There are now more than 300 Occupy-related accounts. But donations are centered on a few WePay accounts, with people directed to the site via pages on Occupy Wall Street's website, as well as Twitter and Facebook feeds, Clerico said.

cboyle@nydailynews.com

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