City will accept bicentennial money raised by grassroots GoFundMe campaign

NASHVILLE, TN (WMC) - A crowdfunding campaign has now raised over $64,000 for the city of Memphis after state lawmakers yanked funding from the city to protest the removal of Confederate monuments.

Brittney Block--the creator of the GoFundMe--sat down with Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland at city hall Friday afternoon.

"This is the starting point of conversation. The funds will be used for the bicentennial," Block said. "I will be seeing this through to make sure those dollars are used in a meaningful way for the city."

So where will the money go?

Block says the city indicated that they would be able to accept the funds, and she will play a big role deciding how they are spent. She will meet with a variety of stakeholders in the community.

"We are going to make the most of it. I have every intention to work with everyone in the city to get feedback on how these dollars can be used and get some meetings scheduled," Block said.

Meanwhile, new reporting from The Tennessean in Nashville is shedding some light on the much-publicized vote.

"I think it still accomplished what the Republican legislature wanted, which was to warn people do not follow the actions of Memphis," Joel Ebert, reporter for The Tennessean, said.

Ebert discovered from his sources at the capitol that the effort to strip the money from Memphis' bicentennial celebration was calculated, but how much so is up for debate.

The $250,000 provision was not in the Senate version of the budget, and Ebert says Republicans are looking at it two different ways.

"There are two views. Some folks say this was totally planned, there was never any provision to have the money in the budget, and that it was all for show. And there's another camp that says no, no, no this was just a last minute effort to remove it," Ebert said.

Strickland said earlier this week that Memphis wasn't expecting any money from the state for the bicentennial anyway.

The city turns 200 next May and planning for the celebration is underway.

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