The GoFundMe campaign to help Tina Johnson, one of the women who accused the failed U.S. Senate candidate of sexual harassment, had exceeded its initial $100,000 fundraising goal by mid-afternoon Sunday.
“I don’t know this woman, but I do know she has risked a lot and has lot a lot,” said organizer Katie Jacobs Stanton, chief marketing officer for Color Genomics, a Burlingame genomic testing company. “And it’s important for people to support their neighbors, whether they are in California or Alabama.”
Johnson is one of several women who accused Moore of past incidents of sexual misconduct. The accusations helped scuttle the Republican judge’s bid for a Senate seat last month. Moore has denied the accusations.
Last Wednesday, the home Johnson shared with her husband and grandson in Gadsden, northeast of Birmingham, was destroyed by fire. Investigators in Etowah County, Ala., are investigating the blaze as an arson, but said there was no indication the fire was linked to the accusations against Moore.
Stanton is a former Google executive and Twitter vice president who served as White House director of citizen participation in the first year of the Obama administration.
Stanton said she’d never before met or talked to Johnson, but was heartbroken to hear news of the fire. She had never started a GoFundMe campaign, but felt “inspired by her bravery” to help even in just “a small way” to rebuild her home. A reporter in Alabama helped Stanton connect with Johnson by text and then by phone.
“She’s just a very sweet, humble woman,” Stanton said. “She just wants to get back on her feet with her family.”
The GoFundMe page went up Friday and had taken donations from more than 5,000 people by mid-afternoon Sunday, with funds coming from people in all 50 states, Stanton said.
“I don’t know Tina Johnson. But I believe her,” Stanton wrote on the page. The initial funding target was based on the value of Johnson’s home as listed on the real estate site Zillow.com, but Stanton knew she would need more to rebuild.
“Whatever is left over, she wants to offer to local nonprofits, and there’s one she had in mind that does support for women in need,” Stanton said.
“We are overwhelmed by your generosity and kindness,” Stanton wrote in an update. “It’s a wonderful reminder that ordinary people can do extraordinary things and love trumps hate.”
Johnson told the Alabama Media Group that she was grateful for the support.
“I just thank everyone all across America from the bottom of my heart,” Johnson told AL.com. “I just cannot give them the proper words. God is good.”
Benny Evangelista is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @ChronicleBenny