Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman gave $18,000 to a GoFundMe for two-year-old Aiden McCarthy, whose parents were killed at the July 4th Highland Park, Illinois parade, according to the donation website.
Ackman is Jewish and the number 18 symbolizes life and good luck in Judaism. McCarthy’s mother was a Jewish emigre and Highland Park is a largely Jewish community outside of Chicago.
Ackman, whose hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management has made massive bets on and against companies ranging from Chipotle to Herbalife, has become increasingly vocal about political issues.
After the horrific event, Ackman posted on Twitter, “There have been 309 mass shootings in the US YTD, an average of 12 per week, nearly two per day. The trend is not our friend . . . Should we change anything?”
A spokesman for Ackman confirmed the gift but declined further comment.
The fundraiser for McCarthy was started Tuesday after news spread the toddler was left “bloodied and alone” following the mass shooting. The goal was to raise $500,000 to pay for McCarthy’s expenses and education. Within the first 24 hours alone than $2 million had been raised, according to GoFundMe.
Aiden’s father, Kevin McCarthy, 37, and mother, Irina McCarthy, 35 were among the seven killed on Independence Day. McCarthy’s father died shielding his son from the gunfire.
McCarthy has been reunited with his grandparents Misha and Nina Levberg who will raise him.