VictimsFirst collected $241,153.18 for the victims and survivors of the Lewiston mass shooting where 18 people were murdered, 13 injured and many others present when a gunman opened fire during a youth league at the Just-in-Time Recreation Bowling and then went into Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant and continued shooting. Four of the victims were from the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, which was heavily impacted by this shooting. The ages of the victims ranged from 14 to 76.
We opened a location-specific GoFundMe for Lewiston immediately after the shooting to ensure that 100% of what was collected would go to the victims and not to community nonprofits which tend to money-grab after tragedy. We also sent out fundraising letters to raise the amount for victims/survivors. Everything we collected, including interest accrued, has been sent to the Maine Community Foundation designated only for the victims and survivors.
Donations were deposited in a designated bank account for Lewiston victims’ families and survivors. On Feb. 5, 2024, we gave every penny (including interest accrued) to the Main Community Foundation and specifically designated it for cash distribution directly to the victims.
Of the total amount VictimsFirst has collected and raised, $5,400 will go only to the 18 families of the deceased as so designated by Revs Bowl Bar & Grill in Oshkosh, Wisconsin where bowler Tom Fritz and Revs proprietor Eric Gialdella held a fundraiser for the 18 families, collected $300 a piece (to symbolize the 300-point perfect game in bowling), and sent it to VictimsFirst to make sure donor intent was realized.
We never take an administration fee; we work pro bono as we are previous mass shooting families who understand this path and the unfortunate re-victimization that comes with it.
Our mass shooting victims’ families and survivors across this nation believe that after a mass shooting, generous donors intend to give to victims, not to nonprofits.
In the aftermath of any mass tragedy, it is vitally important to ensure your donation goes DIRECTLY to victims and not to nonprofits, which can receive grants sometimes totaling into the hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars in the aftermath of tragedy.
We have watched far too many times as nonprofits line up one by one to receive as much as they can from the death and suffering of our family members while those directly impacted struggle to pay bills. Sometimes, victims/survivors of a mass shooting have to undergo a privacy-invading needs assessment with people they’ve never met and don’t know to receive funds that are already intended for them. After a mass shooting, people feel a loss of control, and this kind of nonprofit re-victimization takes even more control away from survivors.
Victims' families and survivors rely on the compassionate donations from people across the nation as they navigate and cope with their trauma.
We are grateful to all who donated to assist our new, unfortunate Lewiston family directly.