Fund For Victims Of Parkland Shooting Reaches $7.5 Million

Apr 10, 2018
Originally published on April 10, 2018 8:34 pm
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$7.5 million has been raised so far for the victims of the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Today, the steering committee in charge of the fund met with families and others from the community to discuss how the money will be distributed. NPR's Greg Allen reports.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: The fund was set up in the days after the shooting in Parkland in which 17 people died. In a college auditorium in Fort Lauderdale about 25 miles from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the committee overseeing it discussed how they'll distribute the money. The committee heard from people like Traci Catto, who was there on behalf of her niece, Catie Krakow, who saw friends die in the shooting.

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TRACI CATTO: The words that come out of her mouth are how this movie of watching someone take their last breath, of clinging to a desk praying that she doesn't die, of crawling over dead bodies, that's not something a 17-year-old child should ever be able to talk about. And it plays over and over in her head and will for the rest of her life.

ALLEN: Another pool of money administered by the state, Florida's Crime Victims Compensation fund, pays for costs like funeral expenses and medical bills. Because of that, Jeff Dion of the National Compassion Fund says the money in this fund is intended to cover pain and suffering.

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JEFFREY DION: That's why it's not based on your medical bills or how much money you earned or what your funeral expenses were. We're really looking to give a gift and help people as a result of the trauma that they've experienced.

ALLEN: The National Compassion Fund was set up after the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., and has overseen distributions after mass shootings in Fort Hood, Texas, and at Orlando's Pulse nightclub. Dion acknowledged that quantifying trauma is a tricky thing. That's one reason for these sessions, to take suggestions from the public and especially those affected.

Under the draft guidelines, there are three categories of victims who will receive help from the fund - families of the 17 who were killed, those that were hospitalized or received other medical treatment for injuries and probably the largest group, those who have been receiving counseling for psychological trauma. Most of those at today's meeting were in that category. But there were also families of those who died in the shooting. Tony Montalto, whose daughter, Gina, was killed that day, said for these families, the trauma also goes on.

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TONY MONTALTO: We're struggling every day through it, and we understand that the survivors need help also. But what happened to us is permanent.

ALLEN: The committee that's overseeing the fund is pledging 100 percent of the money will go to the victims and their families. Guidelines will be finalized, and the committee will begin taking applications next month. The Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund on gofundme.com will continue collecting money through June 30 with a goal of $10 million. Greg Allen, NPR News, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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