Feb. 10, 2022 – After a mass casualty crime, compassionate people around the country want to help so they make generous donations to victims in hopes of alleviating some of the suffering. People donate to funds set up for victims believing all the money they give will go directly to the victims.
Usually, a centralized Victims Fund is created to ensure that 100% of what is collected is disbursed to victims in cash payments. Not so in Waukesha, WI after the Parade Tragedy where six people were killed and 60 injured.
The United for Waukesha Community Fund has collected a reported $5.6 million for victims, an amount that is not nearly enough to cover all the financial needs of the victims. Still, the creators of that fund—United Way and the Waukesha County Community Fund—have established a committee that put together a protocol which allows nonprofits to apply for those funds (see Page 3 of protocol).
Nonprofits have access to donations year-round, receive tax breaks, and are eligible for multi-millions of dollars in federal grants for mental health after a mass casualty event. Individual victims do not.
One of the members on the United for Waukesha committee deciding how the $5.6 million will be disbursed is United Way’s Nicole Angresano, VP of Community Impact for the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County (See page 4 of protocol).
According to the protocol presented on the website, United Way’s own Impact 2-1-1 program is one of the nonprofits that is eligible to receive “priority grant funding.” (see page 3 of protocol)
This is, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest.
The United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County has over $30M in assets and executives are paid $1.39M a year, Ms. Angresano included. United Way, especially, does not need to dip into the money intended for victims to fund their own programs.
If donors wanted some or all of their financial gifts to go to nonprofits, don’t you think they would have given directly to those nonprofits?
United Way has a well-documented history of making mass casualty crime victims feel re-victimized. Just Google what happened to grieving parents of murdered children in Chardon, Ohio or click here, here, or here. And there are many more examples.
We caution everyone to ask questions after you donate to find out exactly where your hard-earned wages will go and make sure it is a centralized Victims’ Fund so 100% of what you give goes directly to the victims.
The Board of VictimsFirst
Victims First at (706) 842-8467
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