The Colorado Healing Fund will now distribute 100% of the funds it receives for the Club Q shooting to victims of the attack after survivors of past tragedies publicly demanded the change.
The fund at times holds back 10% of the money donated to cover administrative costs. Now, an organization, who the nonprofit said asked to be anonymous, has agreed to cover the fees that would have been retained from Club Q donations.
“The Colorado Healing Fund takes very seriously our responsibility to serve as a trusted point for the collection and distribution of donations in the aftermath of tragedy, and we are committed to receiving and addressing constructive feedback,” Jordan Finegan, executive director of the Colorado Healing Fund, said in an emailed statement.
In the days following the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, which left five dead and at least 17 injured, the Colorado Healing Fund began accepting donations from those wishing to make an impact.
As of Tuesday, the fund had collected $1.9 million and distributed $345,000.
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“That money has yet to hit our Club Q dedicated account, so the disbursements thus far have come from our seed fund, which is there for that intention and why it is important that CHF is here in preparation for events like this,” Finegan said.
About $220,000 was in cash disbursements to the families of the five people who were killed and to 24 others who were affected by the attack. About $150,000 went to support immediate needs, such as funeral costs, flights, hotels, transportation, car payments and rent, Finegan said.
“We do know the injured number has gone up so we’ll be disbursing more for cash disbursements soon for that,” she said.
A few days after the shooting, survivors of previous tragedies who now act as advocates for victims, criticized the fees taken out by the Colorado Healing Fund.
“Give them 100% of what was already collected and let them decide how best to use the funds themselves. Only they know what they need,” Karen Gomez, a victim of the Aurora theater shooting, said during a news conference Nov. 27.
Donations didn’t slow as a result of the criticism and no one has rescinded their funds, Finegan said.
The healing fund was started by former Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.
“We wanted to create a place where we could collect donations in a secure manner after a mass tragedy and then quickly disburse funds to trusted partners in local communities to distribute that money,” Coffman said in a subsequent news conference with the healing fund.
The organization does this by giving cash to victims’ organizations, such as Colorado Organization of Victim Assistance, which work directly with victims and then dole out money to them as needed.
Finegan said the fund has in the past tried to find other ways to cover administrative costs but has been unable to secure state or federal funding.
The fund has a budget of $130,000, which covers Finegan’s $89,000 annual salary and other expenses, such as a yearly audit. Finegan is the sole employee of the fund, which is governed by a board of 10 people, including Coffman.
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The healing fund accepts donations for about six months after an incident and provides support for up to 15 years after.
“We do not give money to victims directly because that’s how we’re incorporated and it’s been shown across country that the best way to get money from a charitable group to a victim is through someone who is working directly with them, that has a relationship with them,” said Steve Siegel, a board member for the organization.
The fund has collected and distributed money for several recent attacks including shootings at STEM School Highlands Ranch, a Boulder King Soopers store and at the Canterbury Mobile Home Park in Colorado Springs.
As of June, the fund had collected about $4.7 million for the Boulder shooting and disbursed $3 million.