Charities plan to distribute $2 million in aid for Colorado shooting victims
More than 2,500 individuals have donated to help victims and their families in the aftermath of a shooting spree in a Colorado theater. At GivingFirst.org donors can choose from a list of 10 organizations to contribute to.
With more than $2 million raised for the victims of Friday morning’s shooting rampage at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., the Community First Foundation, the main local organization collecting donations, plans to give the first $100,000 raised, plus an additional $100,000 from the foundation, to local charities by the end of this week.Skip to next paragraph
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The $2 million total includes contributions from Warner Bros., the studio behind the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” whose midnight screening was interrupted when the alleged gunman, James Holmes, opened fire. Twelve people were killed and 58 were injured. Mr. Holmes was subsequently arrested but has not yet been charged.
In the aftermath of the shooting, more than 2,500 individuals have donated through GivingFirst.org, the Community First Foundation’s online fundraising Web site, bringing in a total of $251,000 so far, says Cheryl Haggstrom, executive vice president. Others mailed in checks or wired their donations.
At GivingFirst.org, donors can choose from a list of 10 organizations to contribute to, or they can give to the Community First Foundation’s Aurora Victim Relief Fund. Thus far, the 10 groups have received $105,000 in total, and the fund has garnered $146,000.
The foundation says it has waived all fees used to administer the fund, which was established in partnership with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Many local organizations say they have been inundated by calls from people around the country wanting to donate. But rather than collecting those contributions on their own, some charities, such as the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance, have pointed donors to the GivingFirst.org Web site, the portal through which it has long accepted donations. So far, the nonprofit, which provides support for crime victims, has received $45,000 through GivingFirst, says Nancy Lewis, the victim group's executive director.
“It’s been overwhelming,” she says. “People have really opened up across the country to help the victims in any way they can.”
Her organization is setting up a committee to help disburse the donations to the shooting victims and their families. Apart from honoring requests from donors to give directly to specific victims, the group says it will use families’ financial needs as a criterion for distributing the money. Ms. Lewis estimates the process to take a full year. The timeframe and approach are similar to the organization’s response after the Columbine High School killings in 1999.