Some Ferguson businesses have turned to crowdfunding websites, with varying degrees of success.
GoFundMe, an online donation platform, has been among the most popular portals> In an email to CNBC, it said it has raised more than $600,000 from over 15,000 donors for a handful of damaged businesses in the city.
Eric Lee, a 19-year-old freshman at University of North Carolina, watched the devastation and decided to jump in to help.
Though not a business owner, Lee began contacting several businesses near his hometown of St. Louis to see how he could help. Lee eventually reached Juanita Morris, a local store owner he had seen on the news. Her store, Juanita's Fashions R Boutique, was burned to the ground with the exception of one wall.
Lee said he was struck by the disconnect between the reaction to the jury decision and those eventually hurt by the aftermath—community business owners. "They were so unrelated to the problem at hand, yet they [business owners] were the ones whose livelihoods were being destroyed," Lee said.
Lee and Morris paired up and launched a GoFundMe page, with donations now totaling nearly $23,000—surpassing their initial goal of $20,000.
"People around America have been reaching out to help us with donations and equipment for her new store," Lee said. "The Ferguson verdict revealed and uncovered deeper societal issues, but I think its unfair overall," he said. Business owners "had nothing to do with this."
Morris has plans to open a temporary location in Ferguson with the donations, but would like to eventually rebuild in her old spot. Fashions R Boutique was founded about 30 years ago with "$135 and a borrowed credit card."
"I expected a few broken windows at best," Morris said, reflecting on the aftermath.
The power of online funding platforms and the generosity of strangers has been surprising, too. "I knew nothing about crowdfunding," Morris said. "It's blown my mind."