Pershing Square founder Bill Ackman donated $18,000 to a GoFundMe page raising money for Aiden McCarthy, a two-year-old whose parents were among the victims of the July 4 shooting in Highland Park, Illinois.
McCarthy’s story has resonated across the US after he was found “bloodied and alone” in the aftermath of a gunman opening fire from a rooftop during an Independence Day parade in the Chicago suburb, the AP reported. Authorities later confirmed that his parents Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, had died in the shooting.
The GoFundMe page was started on Tuesday with the goal of raising $500,000. The fund had raised more than $2 million from roughly 37,000 donors in less than 24 hours.
A representative for Ackman confirmed the donation, but declined further comment.
Highland Park has a large Jewish community and the $18,000 donation carries symbolic significance. The number 18 is synonymous with the Hebrew word “chai,” which translates to life. It is custom in the Jewish tradition to give money in multiples of 18 to wish the recipient good luck or “life.” In the aftermath of the shooting, Ackman took to Twitter to decry the mass shootings in the US and retweeted a photo of Aiden.