A Go Fund Me For An “Amish Escapee”?

This caught my eye yesterday. I’ve not often seen an online fundraiser for a person who left his or her Amish community. But that’s what this is, for a 27-year-old woman named Millie:

Hi everyone, Millie may the decision to leave the Amish very recently. She had been shunned by her family and they would not give her belongings to her unless she put on Amish clothes and cane back there. They would try and stop her from leaving if she went to get her things. She has to completely start over again at 27 years old. She is already working some but will have to buy furniture, cooking and kitchen supplies and a car to get to work.. She is honest and has always been hard working but doesn’t have anything now. Please give of your heart knowing that she is forever grateful for anything that you can give.. Thank you!

Assuming this is real – and I do have some questions, including on the photo attached, which either includes two figures in non-Amish dresses, or is maybe just a generic photo – it’s an unusual type of fund drive, but I guess one that shouldn’t surprise us in the year 2020.

For that matter, I’m not posting on this to take a moral stand one way or the other on this one, because oftentimes “it’s complicated”.

What can be said on this? There’s not a lot of info given, so not a whole lot. But we can assume that Millie’s family and community certainly want her to be Amish, and be a part of their lives. But at the same time, she is clearly being pulled in a different direction. I think we need to respect our families and commitments, but at the same time we as individuals need to do what is best in our lives. No one knows the circumstances and what precipitated this besides her and whoever else, such as her family, is involved.

Beyond that, there is no information as to whether Millie is a baptized church member, though she is described as being “shunned by her family” (some people use that “shunned” language loosely to describe severed relations, even when it is not technically an excommunication/Meidung situation).

However, Millie is of an age where most of her peers would be baptized, if that is the course they are taking in their lives. If Millie made a baptismal promise, that is something the Amish take seriously, and the implications of which she will need to deal with, of course, on her own.

delaware amish yoder road
The Dover, Delaware Amish community

All that said and set aside for now, it looks like this young woman is at least for the time being heading down a different life pathway, and could use some help.

The organizer of the Go Fund Me is based in Felton, Delaware, which is the Dover area, so we can probably assume Millie’s origins are in that Amish community. It doesn’t look like the amount given on her Go Fund Me has budged since yesterday. Here is the link if you’d like to view it in full and contribute.

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    1. Emily


      Why would anyone support someone leaving the church for a life of sin!
      The vast majority of people outside of the church indulge in behaviors that are both self destructive, and extremely destructive to those around themselves. Although most are oblivious to that fact, or completely in denial. If Millie were just switching to a more liberal church such as Mennonite, they would give her all the help she needed.
      Most Amish or Mennonite join the church in their late teens or early twenties. 27 is considered late in life to join. I think there’s obviously a lot more to her story.

      1. You seem awfully certain of what this person is leaving for. As written above, I noted there are a lot of unknowns.

        I did not spell it out, but what lay between the lines is the possibility of an abusive or unhealthy family situation. Judgment is not necessarily a bad thing…but not enough is known here for that.

        1. Sarah

          "Judge not..." "love one another..."

          “Why would anyone support someone leaving the church for a life of sin!” Wow! That is one huge judgemental assumption based on nothing verifiable at all. I reached out to William Kramer the organizer of the fund request, and asked for more details.

          And, btw, I’m one of those “escapees” that left a plain horse and buggy Mennonite community in Pa. I much prefer my life now, and you wouldn’t know me from anyone else on the street. Undoing the damage of false teachings has been an arduous journey. I’ll save the details for my memoir. 🙂

          Last but not least, we are (almost)all born with human nature and have forgotten our divine nature. Accepting Grace is the way out. Jesus commandment was to “love one another”…

          1. Emily

            We all are judging!

            Everyone judges. Even you. We are suppose to judge according to God’s word. Not as the hippacrates do. None of us even know if Millie exists. Some people automatically assume that anyone leaving the church, does so because they were in an abusive situation. I wonder if they recognize the fact that many people leave because they simply have no conviction to follow Christ. We all have free will. Some of us chose to follow Christ, and the majority in this world chose to follow their own selfish desires.

    2. Alice Berger


      It looks suspiciously fake to me. I would be leery of contributing anything to this.

    3. J.O.B.

      Yes. Suspicious

      It does look suspicious.

      Some timely spelling mistakes. Not showing her face and last name to hide the identity is odd.

      If you’re going on the internet to ask for money, people need to know who you are to help verify that you really need help.

      Plus, it’s written in a way to make this Amish family look bad/unreasonable. Remeber, there are 2 sides to every story.


      1. That’s fair, but I can also easily see the newly-left Amish person being wary of putting their full identity/photo online, especially after a lifetime of not dealing in that world.

        Spelling mistakes are neither here nor there for me in 2020. Thanks to smartphones and Facebook, it seems like half the people online write with poor grammar and spelling nowadays (not commenters here though:)).

        The story is going to be negative towards the Amish in these kinds of cases. Par for the course. Maybe justifiably, maybe with slant against them. Or a bit of both.

        I have just sent a message to the organizer asking for more details. I am not too familiar with Go Fund Me, so didn’t think to do that first, but I discovered it’s doable. I’ll let know if/what I hear back.

        1. J.O.B.


          LoL! I just saw my spelling mistake. 🙂 Guilty 🙂

          My original thought was about the e-mail scam saying that you won lots of money. But the e-mail was written by someone from another country.
          So the e-mail would often contain spelling errors.

          I don’t judge people by their spelling. I was just thinking of that type of e-mail scam.

          Scam artists make it difficult to help people who could use assistance.

          1. Ha, I can see now that maybe that comment looked like it was directed at you…but I did not even catch that minor spelling mistake until re-reading your comment now. 🙂

            I actually meant that sincerely, commenters here are overall pretty attentive to punctuation and spelling. I appreciate that. But I understand how things are with typing out replies on smartphones or in a hurry, so I’d much rather have a good comment with a couple of errors in it, than not at all.

            I try to pay attention as well, but I am sure people could find errors from me looking back through enough of the posts and comments. Who knows, there might even be one or two on this page. 😉

    4. sue kimmel


      Of course things could be different where they are from but in Western Ohio / Eastern Indiana the Amish are definately not allowed to accept handouts. I wonder where this money goes really .

    5. Georgianne

      Definitely suspicious

      I agree and think it’s definitely suspicious. Sorry, Erik, I seem to argue a lot. : )

      If it were a real, even without a photo and even with misspellings, I think the plea and description of the issue should have been worded in such a way that you get a clearer picture of who Millie is, what she hopes to do, and a better level of trust that you’re really helping her. At the very least, William Kramer, who is the supposed contact for her Go Fund Me page, should have explained who he was and why he was helping. This just seems like a plea for money that you can’t even be sure is really going to her, and doesn’t give you any sense of sympathy nor level of trust. I also googled William Kramer. It was a cursory search out of curiosity and there are a few William Kramers in the general area. Three are in their 50s and one is in his 30s. Only two William Kramers are associated with Felton DE — one is 51 and one is 52. So why is a 50+ year-old man helping a 27-year-old Amish woman who is trying to find her way? Obviously that’s jumping to conclusions and all I did was a fast people search, but makes me wonder. To make me even more suspicious William Kramer 51 had two aliases not even close to that name. While William Kramer 52 is related to Mildred Kramer. Millie is short for Mildred.

      I have complete sympathy with a woman who is finding her way in what is probably a new and different environment than she’s used to. And finding the GoFundMe page suspicious doesn’t reflect on her being Amish. To me, it reflects on the person who started it for maybe not being as forthcoming as he could have been, or taking advantage of someone who can’t navigate the world of the non-Amish all that well. Before I donated I would definitely want better information.

      1. Sure, some pushback is even a good thing:) I was hoping this would generate a little discussion. These are good points to consider. Despite some being sure that it’s fake, I don’t think it is immediately obvious one way or the other.

        I agree with you that if I were writing it, more details would be better as far as building trust and sympathy. But my thinking was, I could see something like this being created by someone who wants to help, and is not too internet savvy. He heard Go Fund Me is a place you can do that.
        This person puts up a request as a first time user, not giving it a lot of thought as far as how much to write – or being respectful of a person in an awkward, brand new life situation that doesn’t want to reveal too much of herself at this early point on the web (I do realize that “shy Amish person” dynamic also makes it a more convenient scenario for a potential scammer to withhold info). Perhaps Millie is someone leaving a dysfunctional situation.

        I wrote in my reply to Ben below that 27 is a bit of an odd age, but to me that more likely supports that this is authentic, than hurts that case.

        Could very well be an acquaintance/friend that is English who knows her. I am assuming there could be a wife/English family in the picture as well. Perhaps a couple that befriended her from knowing her at a family produce stand or other business relationship. Could be Millie is leaving a dysfunctional situation.

        Additionally, two people had already donated at the time I found it. 
        Sure, I guess you can fake that, but it’s something as well…and if you’re going to the trouble of creating fake donors to encourage others to legitimately donate, why not create like 5 or 6 of them instead of just 2. Or, at least make multiple smaller donations from the same 2 fake profiles so that it looks like more people have donated, at least on first glance.

        It might be that it is fake, but that’s not what my first thought was when I saw this. Some of this is counterintuitive. And as you can see in the post, I’m not pushing for people to donate to this – for more than one reason. But my gut said that this is more likely real than fake. Hopefully we’ll get more info on it.

    6. Ben

      Easy to spot fake


      This is too obviously fake.

      Nothing in the wording or pictures make me believe it’s real.

      Also, having a lot of ex-amish friends, and family, I happen to know it is very uncharacteristic of them to ask for money.

      Even if the story is real, be assured that this person would pocket all the money, donor beware!

      1. Yes as I wrote in the post, I had some questions too, but I’m just not so automatically sure that it’s fake -or- real. Though, I leaned towards it being real.

        A couple things. It’s possible that the girl does not even know about this effort for her and he/they (ie, this guy and maybe his wife) plan to surprise her with the cash.

        Another thing is her age. Why would someone, who with a little googling, can find that it’s more typically teens and younger people who leave, create a fake profile for someone who is the somewhat odd age of 27? 

        It’s youngish, but doesn’t fit the stereotypical age. That detail to me actually supports the idea that it is an authentic effort to help someone.

        Depending on the situation, young/youngish women leaving may have few to turn to outside of say an English friend. To give a better-known example, Saloma Miller Furlong went to an English friend for help leaving her community. She wrote about this in her book.

        There is not necessarily an easy Mennonite/progressive pathway and support structure or ex-Amish community available in all places, especially smaller communities. True this is not really a “small” settlement if it’s Dover, but nor is it anything like the size of say Holmes or Lancaster County.

        Maybe it is fake, but it’s more interesting to me to reason it out than to immediately decide I know either way. Hopefully we’ll hear back from the creator of the fundraiser with more info.

    7. FB

      This is the William Kramer who posted the GoFundMe, in case you’re curious. He’s a real person.


      1. I also should have mentioned that Kramer is a surname found among the Amish, though rather uncommon.

        So if this FB profile is the same person, and you’re right, it looks like it is – he may have been raised Amish himself and/or have some background/connections in the community.

        There are also other “Amish” last names among this person’s public FB follows (Borntreger, Hostetler).

        Hopefully he’ll check his email for my Go Fund Me contact request and let us know a little more.

      2. I also just noticed that in the link to this Go Fund Me shared on Will Kramer’s FB page, you can see a fuller version of the photo at the top of the post, showing the young woman’s face.

        I’m not sure why Go Fund Me cuts the photo in half like that.

        The full image is here:


    8. Min. T. Miller

      Title is Offensive

      I don’t know anyone involved with this fund raiser, but I would be careful. Many of us are offended at the headline “AMISH ESCAPEE”, which gives the implication that Amish who leave are “escapees” from some kind of a cult or prison. ESCAPEE!!! Most Anabaptists would find that offense, I am pretty sure. “Runaways” and “defectors” is just as bad.

      1. Before being offended...please check punctuation

        Note the use of quotation marks around the term “Amish Escapee” in the post title.

        Here is one way that quotation marks can be used:

        –2. Use quotation marks to indicate words used ironically, with reservations, or in some unusual way.

        (source: http://www.butte.edu/departments/cas/tipsheets/punctuation/quotation_marks.html)

        My usage of the quotation marks fits that category. It’s a common usage of quotation marks.

        Also note the question mark in the post title: A Go Fund Me For An “Amish Escapee”?

        Taken together, the sense conveyed is rather different than if I had just written the title like this: A Go Fund Me For An Amish Escapee.

        I believe you have been a reader here long enough to understand my approach to the Amish. In other words, I don’t idealize, nor do I characterize the Amish in such terms as you suggest.

    9. Walter Boomsma


      There is a difference between questioning and judging… and I do not understand some people’s need to argue!