top of page

History of Re-Victimization

A history of mass shooting victims feeling re-victimized by nonprofits and the fight against it.

April 19, 1995 – OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING. 168 dead, over 680 injured. Years later, the fund continues to sit on multi-millions as victims ask for help and are told to apply for government funds. Oklahoma Disaster Relief Fund Under Fire (Brian Williams, Rock Center)


April 20, 1999 – COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING. United Way collects over $4.7 million for a "Healing Fund." 13 people murdered, more than 20 injured. Americans give millions to help the families of the Columbine shooting. Each family of a deceased victim receives 1.08% of the donations collected, each seriously injured receives 3% with another 2% each given out to 12 previous victims.

(Connecticut Post)


Bottom of page 133 (page 155 in report on The Healing Fund):'s%20Commission%20Report.pdf


SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 – The worst terrorist attack in American history takes place with terrorists using planes as weapons to kill thousands of people to fly into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A heroic in-air attempt by passengers to thwart the third attack ends with the plane crashing into a field in Shanksville, PA.

Public-donated funds collected for victims never get directly to the victims' families. United Way collects donations that is not seen by victims. Red Cross is audited and found to have kept $200 million of the victims' money and the head of the nonprofit is fired and later gives an interview saying it wasn’t $200 million, it was $700 million and she had board approval. 9/11 Commission formed. Victims compensation expert Ken Feinberg is employed to distribute federal fund.

Victim’s parent worked directly with Sen. Ted Kennedy to get public donations collected for victims away from non-profits and directly to the victims’ families. (NBC News)


April 16, 2007 – VIRGINIA TECH in Blacksburg, VA. 32 murdered, 17 wounded. University collects funds, sets up Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, but victims have to fight for donations to be distributed properly. Victims ask for Fund to be kept open so they can work together with the University not only to help victims but also to continue to advocate for campus security issues. Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund is cut off, more donations come in but victims never see it.


February 14, 2008 – NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY shooting. 5 murdered, 17 wounded. 2008 Funds popped up using names and faces of loved ones murdered to solicit donations but the victims' families never saw any of the donations collected. Scholarships were set up without victims' families input.


February 12, 2012 – CHARDON, OHIO HIGH SCHOOL shooting. 3 murdered, 3 wounded. United Way comes in and starts collecting funds to help the families in a "Healing Fund." Neither the public nor the families of the deceased are happy. Grieving parents fight in court to try to get the donations collected for their families to their families.


July 20, 2012 – AURORA, Colorado theater shooting. 12 murdered, 70 injured. Governor Hickenlooper sets up the Aurora Victims Relief Fund in partnership with Giving First/Community First which uses those murdered to solicit donations. First disbursement of funds goes to 10 area non-profits while the nonprofit informs victims’ families that they don’t give money directly to victims and think it’s actually a bad idea to do so. They will be giving the funds collected in the Aurora Victims Relief Fund to other nonprofits and not to victims.

When this method for distribution is questioned by Tom Teves, the father of Alex Teves whose son was murdered while successfully protecting his girlfriend in the theater, he is told by Giving First exec Marla Williams, “If you want to raise money for the victims, maybe you should start your own fund.”


While they are grieving, families of the deceased must fight against the powers that be in the state of Colorado to receive the donations collected in their names and faces of their deceased loved ones. Three weeks after the shooting, when the families of the deceased repeatedly object to the nonprofit’s mission of giving to nonprofits instead of 100% to all the victims and then threaten to go public, Nancy Lewis from COVA unexpectedly interrupts a scheduled hearing in court about the shooter to ask the judge to allow them to release funds to the victims.

Having already been caught in one lie by the families of the deceased when the nonprofit said they never used the names and faces of their murdered loved ones to collect funds, then saying they plan to get board input and get back to families on the coming Friday, the nonprofit instead runs to the media to spin the news of the funds being released by COVA.

It’s is clear to the families at this point that Giving First/Community First is in partnership with Nancy Lewis at the nonprofit COVA.

When one grieving father is talking suicide, two family members of the deceased work to prevent it. While one keeps the father on the phone, the other calls the head of one of the mental health nonprofits that received the first $100,000 of the Aurora Victims Relief Fund, and begs for help. The exec director of the nonprofit doesn’t know who the father is and then asks if the father has insurance because he will have to go through insurance first. She hangs up and calls the D.A.’s office for help, which is given instantly. (After mass murder, Mental Health agencies and nonprofits receive MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in federal grants to support victims.)

Meanwhile, Giving First/Community First repeatedly alters its website’s wording. Families continue to collect screenshots.

A 9/11 father whose child was murdered and worked with Sen. Ted Kennedy steps in to help the Aurora families, gives them a playbook to try to fight these nonprofits, and tells them to call 911 special master Ken Feinberg

Families call special master Ken Feinberg and ask him to please help them. He gives interviews to the media that he is available to come in pro-bono to help disburse funds. He also calls the nonprofit to offer his services. The nonprofit is not interested.

After weeks and weeks of being lied to and re-victimized, the families of the deceased continue to ask Governor Hickenlooper for help, to no avail. Then they begin asking other politicians for 9/11 Special Master Ken Feinberg to be brought in to disburse the funds.

Congressman Ed Perlmutter steps in and helps to resolve the issue to the great relief of the Aurora families. He is seen as a Godsend to Aurora families, and is beloved to this day.

Ken Feinberg is finally brought in, invited by Hickenlooper. Giving First/Community First, Hickenlooper and Feinberg go the media to announce that Feinberg is stepping in.

Aurora families felt horribly re-victimized at the hand of Giving First/Community First and the 7/20 Recovery Committee which was made up of Steve Siegel, Rich Audsley and COVA.

Meanwhile, members of this group begin a campaign of revisionist history in the media which is perpetuated to this day (2021).

Tom Teves, the father who led much of strategy/charge against Giving First/Community First, and who challenged the 7/20 Committee about who keeps the interest on the donations, the victims or the nonprofit, is lied about to the Associated Press, which was disseminated by a 7/20 Committee member to try to destroy Teves’ credibility with other Aurora victims of the mass shooting.

Grieving family members who were also in the same meeting, must call the AP to correct the false information about Teves.

After public trust is broken, Giving First starts going by Colorado Gives.

The Aurora Victims Relief Fund is disbursed but not everyone who was a victim was helped.

Aurora families vow to change this for future survivors.

To add insult to the murder of his first born son, when checks were finally written to the families of the deceased, Giving First/Community First leaves Tom Teves’ name off the payment.

VictimsFirst begins on the victims’ side to try to keep this from happening to other mass shooting families.

Families of Aurora shooting victims say $5 million in donations going to non-profits, not them (NY Daily News):


August 5, 2012 – OAK CREEK, WISCONSIN SIKH TEMPLE shooting. 6 murdered, 4 wounded (one died in 2020 from injuries sustained). Funds begin cropping up to capitalize on the deaths. Oak Creek victims must get up in grief and establish their own fund, go to the media to announce a trusted fund. Ken Feinberg, as he did in 9/11 and Aurora, helps the Oak Creek victims behind the scenes.

October 12, 2012 – Aurora, CO families of the deceased write a letter to the CO Attorney General’s office and Secretary of State’s office asking for an investigation into Giving First/Community First.


Fall 2012 – Families from Aurora ask National Center for Victims of Crime in D.C. to try to get a fund going to help those survivors from the theater who were not helped previously. They wanted everyone acknowledged as a victim in the theater and for those who needed help to be able to receive it, which was not the case when the fund was distributed.


December 14, 2012 – NEWTOWN/SANDY HOOK Elementary school shooting. 26 murdered. Just as in Aurora, predatory funds begin collecting donations. Outraged, two victims’ families work to expose them.

Dozens of funds set up for victims, the largest being the United Way with over $11.6 million in it.

No distribution plan in place as a committee decides what to do with "unspecified funds." Daughter of Shooting Victim Wants Funds Disbursed (Connecticut Post):


December 16, 2012 – Victims’ families of Aurora travel to D.C. Anita Busch (Micayla Medek) and Caren Teves (Alex Teves) go to the National Center for Victims of Crime and request the directors to start a Fund for the Newtown families so they won’t be re-victimized by nonprofits the way the Aurora families and all these other families of previous mass shootings were.


2013 – Families from previous mass shootings have a conference call with the Newtown families to explain what is about to happen and urge them to contact 9/11 Special master Ken Feinberg. Many don’t believe that nonprofits will re-victimize them, until it happens.

COVA’s Nancy Lewis and Rich Audsley fly out from Colorado to help United Way, explaining that only a small number of families from Aurora objected to what they were doing.

A father from Newtown helping others stands up and asks them, “You mean that 11 of the 12 families of the deceased are considered an insignificant number of people to you?”

The Newtown families eventually find themselves negotiating back and forth with United Way behind the scenes on what it believes “public intent” were for the funds.

Newtown families then join with the previous mass shooting families to try to stop this kind of future re-victimization by nonprofits.

The VA Tech victim compensation model and the Aurora victim compensation model are combined and families of the deceased from all above mass shootings are brought together and they draft a new way of charitable giving: a fully transparent fund where public intent is realized and 100% of of donations collected are given directly to victims’ families.


April 15, 2013 – THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING. 3 murdered, hundreds injured (including 17 whose limbs were taken). Newtown families and Aurora, CO families begin calling the Mayor’s office, sending the new protocol and request that they make sure the families are not re-victimized by nonprofits and immediately establish a centralized Victims’ Fund.

One of the family members from Aurora, CO goes over the protocol with an executive at John Hancock and asks for full transparency.

The Boston One Fund becomes a fully transparent and efficient model for victims and is distributed by special master Ken Feinberg.

Without any nonprofits involved, the Boston OneFund collects $64 million for the victims/survivors in a completely transparent victims’ fund.

100% of public donor intent is fulfilled with victims receiving the funds directly in cash payments.

Families of previous mass shootings write an opinion piece that runs in the Boston Globe, asking for the Boston One Fund model to be established as the national model.


May 6, 2013 – OHIO KIDNAPPINGS. Three young women who were kidnapped when they were 14, 16, and 21, respectively, and were presumed dead are found in kidnapper’s house. They had been held for many years, and one of the women gave birth to daughter while in captivity; her baby was fathered by the kidnapper.

Nonprofits start collecting funds in their names, telling the public that it the donations will be used to “support the victims,” legal speak for being sent to other nonprofits and not going “directly to victims.”

Family of the deceased from the Aurora mass shooting and a woman who helped behind the scenes in Newtown call those who set up the fund and ask them to make sure the young women get the donations directly.

They tell us that’s not what they do. Their mission is to give to other nonprofits.

After several days of behind the scenes back and forth with us, 100% of the donations collected for the victims are earmarked to go directly to the kidnapped and sexual assault victims.


Meanwhile in 2013: The protocol two decades of mass shooting families devised is then given to the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), and it sets up a dedicated Victims Funds with a slightly different structure than mass shooting families envisioned, but with 100% going directly to the entire victim base. The NCVC wins approval from its board to start the pilot program for the National Compassion Fund.


April 2, 2014 – FORT HOOD 2nd mass shooting. 3 murdered, 14 injured. While people are working, to get this up and running, a second mass shooting in Fort Hood happens.

The National Compassion Fund is created, named by Anita Busch. Jeff Dion, the current executive director who is also a victim of crime as his sister was murdered years earlier personally champions the fund.

The board gives approval to get the first pilot program set up. The Commanding General at Ft. Hood praises the process as the fund goes off without a hitch and 100% of donations go directly to victims in cash payments.


May 23, 2014 – ISLA VISTA shooting. 6 murdered, 14 injured. Donations are collected. Families from other mass shootings work hard to intervene to prevent further harm and re-victimization of the Isla Vista families. But officials won’t listen. Instead, officials install park benches while families struggle to survive financially.

Summer/Fall of 2014 -- The National Center for Victims of Crime brings the information from Ft. Hood back to its board and it moves quickly to help victims.

Isla Vista family members join with Columbine, VaTech, Aurora, NIU, Oak Creek, Newtown to endorse the National Compassion Fund, led by Jeff Dion.

Tucson and Alturas (CA) families endorse the Jeff Dion-led National Compassion Fund.


Oct. 1, 2015 – ROSEBURG UMPQUA COMMUNITY COLLEGE shooting. 9 murdered, 8 injured. United Way and other nonprofits begin collection of donations. It uses a needs-based model, which is considered by victims as invasive. Other mass shooting families help behind the scenes as victims feel re-victimized.

One survivor asks United Way for funds to get mental help for PTSD and is denied.

Roseburg family members endorse the National Compassion Fund (led by Jeff Dion), joining with other mass shooting families of the deceased and injured.


December 2, 2015 – SAN BERNARDINO TERRORIST ATTACK shooting. This one becomes a workers comp nightmare with victims denied crucial pain and psychiatric medications and services. Aurora, Isla Vista and Tucson families respond to try to help the victims and survivors by bringing attention to the matter.

An Aurora, CO family member stands up to United Way during a public meeting and tells victims there to start asking questions about the fund. She tells the nonprofit that it has no business collecting funds after mass shootings because it is a community-based nonprofit. Families of previous mass shootings feel re-victimized by UW, specifically.

San Bernardino family members endorse the National Compassion Fund, joining with other mass shooting families of the deceased and injured.


June 12, 2016 -- Orlando Pulse Night Club shooting. 49 murdered, 53 wounded. Families organize and work behind the scenes to stop the re-victimization that about to occur once again. A local LGBTQ organization, Equality Florida, immediately starts a GoFundMe.

Aurora, CO mass shooting family call Equality Florida to make sure that the donations they collect will go directly to the victims/survivors. Families work diligently to make sure the funds from other nonprofits go directly to the victims/survivors.


The National Compassion Fund, led by Jeff Dion, stands at the ready while victims from other mass shootings – Aurora, CO, NIU, Newtown, Oak Creek, Isla Vista, Va Tech – fly in to Orlando to hold meetings with the City to meet with people and prevent funds from being diverted from victims. Politicians, top donors, media are immediately contacted and informed about prior misdeeds by those nonprofits collecting public donations and never getting directly to victims.

Meanwhile, an emergency meeting is held in D.C. and the board of the NCVC decides to launch a National Compassion Fund for Orlando. Aurora family member Anita Busch collects $53K in just a few hours for administration fees so 100% of what is collected could go directly to the victims in cash payments.

The National Compassion Fund's Jeff Dion works with Equality Florida and Ken Feinberg as the families of mass shootings call top donors to make sure that donations meant for victims actually get to them. 


Pulse families of the deceased and injured endorse the National Compassion Fund model, standing with other mass shooting families across the nation.

Over the years, the Pulse victims and survivors would find out that the Pulse Club had illegal renovations and code violations that hindered rescue and their escape, but the City covered it up. They would also feel horribly re-victimized by the now defunct onePulse Foundation and its owner Barbara Poma. The nonprofit would change its mission statement three times and remove all financial help for victims while it collected millions to build a museum they did not want, the brainchild of an ambitious woman named Pamela Schwartz who, it turns out, was grabbing items from the memorial before children were even buried without permission of the families. For an entire timeline of what has take place in Orlando since the shooting, see:


2015 to 2020 -- After Pulse, the National Compassion Fund -- led by Jeff Dion -- is known and is called in after several incidents of mass murder while the network of mass shooting families continue to help behind the scenes time after time: Aurora (CO), Chattanooga, Parkland, Vegas (which did not implement the full philosophy of the National Compassion Fund thereby survivors were re-victimized), Jacksonville, Aurora (IL), Milwaukee, El Paso, Seabring (FL), Cincinnati, Santa Fe, Charlottesville, and in Thousand Oaks (where Aurora family member steps in to help). 100% to victims/survivors in cash payments.

VictimsFirst pulls together a trauma-informed Best Practices for Mass Casualty Crime after interviewing every category of victim. That is then shared all over the country after mass shootings.

Vegas victims/survivors endorse the National Compassion Fund.

May 5, 2019 -- The New York Times finally reports on some of what happened in Sandy Hook:

May 31, 2019 -- VA BEACH WORKPLACE SHOOTING, 12 dead, 4 wounded. The second largest workplace shooting in U.S. history occurs in a government building steps from City Hall. Yet again, another United Way comes in. United Way of Hampton Roads starts collecting and pulls in an estimated $4.7 Million from the public and private donors in what is named the VB Tragedy Fund (notice the purposeful avoidance of calling it a Victims Fund). Those funds are questionably dispersed as it is known that some families received nothing. The “VBStrong” Resiliency Center is established and later turns away victims in crisis, employed strict limitations against individual therapy, and cut off medical reimbursements before the two-year anniversary. The United Way of Hampton Roads continues soliciting donations for the VB Tragedy Fund to this day (2023), with no known plan to disburse to victims.

VA Beach families of the deceased and wounded decide to do something about this and begin conversations with the VA Tech families to formulate a plan, similar to what VA Tech families implemented for victim care for their own victim base.

2020 -- Pandemic hits. During Covid, in lieu of any commemoration event, the City of Virginia Beach send VA Beach families coloring pages, featuring a logo the City designed to promote the tragedy in a positive light.

2021 – As the country begins to open up, mass shootings begin to rise:

March 16, 2021 – ATLANTA SPA SHOOTINGS. 8 murdered.

Atlanta, like Boston, becomes a fully transparent model for the rest of the country to follow:

Under the advice of both victims and Jeff Dion, they set up a Victims Fund with 100% going directly to victims via the National Compassion Fund. It sets up a separate nonprofit Education Fund for donors to help stop Asian Hate.

Full transparency, giving the public and corporations not only a clear choice but also letting everyone know where the funds are actually going.

Mass shooting families across the country and VictimsFirst applaud the structure and help get the word out on their efforts.

March 16, 2021 – OCONOMOWOC, WISCONSIN ROUNDY’S DISTRIBUTION CENTER shooting. 2 murdered. VictimsFirst assisted with bringing in trauma specialists to help victims. The National Compassion Fund, led by Jeff Dion, was also brought in to ensure 100% of the funds collected goes directly to victims. 

March 22, 2021 – BOULDER, COLORADO KING SOOPERS' GROCERY STORE shooting. 10 murdered, no injured. Nonprofits, involving four of the same people/entities involved with advising previously re-victimized families from Columbine, Aurora, CO and Newtown funds, immediately start collecting donations.

The Colorado "Healing Fund," once again, becomes the warden of public and corporate donations. Families of mass shootings across the country are alarmed that donations collected will be used at the discretion of the nonprofit rather than the victims. A former executive of United Way (a nonprofit which began in Colorado), Rich Audsley, is on their advisory board.

Aurora, CO families are alarmed seeing the same group again – Nancy Lewis at COVA, Steve Siegel, and Rich Audsley, Community First, Colorado Gives (formerly Giving First) and others involved in Oklahoma, Columbine and others.

Families from other mass shootings across the nation call both the Colorado Healing Fund and the Boulder County Community Foundation to ask why there is no fund for the victims of this shooting.

The Boulder Community Foundation tells them that they are sending donations to the Colorado Healing Fund. They have no idea what they will do with “unspecified” funds at the Foundation, those funds not specifically directed. They are going to put a committee together to decide what public intent is.

However, they have asked the Colorado Healing Fund not to take its 5% from the funds it is sending over.

Jordan Finegan, the exec director of the Colorado Healing Fund, makes it clear that they have a different model for how they intend to handle donations collected in the names of the murdered victims.

She tells a family of the deceased from Aurora that their aim is to “replace the National Compassion Fund.” What is at work is an invasive, needs-based model.

Families from other mass shootings across the nation start a GoFundMe for Boulder families to try to prevent donations from going to other nonprofits instead of directly to victims.

March 24, 2021 -- Three family members from other mass shootings call the CEO of Kroger which owns the Roundy’s Oconomowoc Distribution Center and the following day, the National Compassion Fund, led by Jeff Dion, is brought in to set up for those victims. VictimsFirst helps behind the scenes to bring in trauma specialists. 100% of donations will go directly to victims/survivors.

March/April 2021 – VictimsFirst is contacted by two of the families of the deceased from Boulder who are distraught over what is happening with the two big nonprofits collecting funds and ask for assistance.

Families of previous mass shootings across the nation answer the call. They draft a letter to warn the Boulder families of their prior experience with nonprofit behaviors.

Families together share their experiences with nonprofits the public.

Colorado Healing Fund sends out information to the media that the public can send donations into victims accounts at FirstBanks, even though there are no victims accounts at the bank, there is only the bank account for the nonprofit.

The Colorado Healing Fund will keep 5% in administration fees and hold even more donations back.

Who benefits from the interest? The nonprofit or the victims?

April 15, 2021 – INDIANAPOLIS FED EX FACILITY shooting. 8 murdered, several wounded. VictimsFirst, once again responds, and joins hands with the Sikh community which had four members murdered, meanwhile helping families of the deceased and those injured with information and resources.

VictimsFirst advised those on the ground (Red Cross) and provided the local community with our Best Practices.

The National Compassion Fund is brought in and sets up a straight-to-victims fund with 100% of donations going directly to the victims and survivors. Jeff Dion oversees it.

April 19, 2021 – John MacKenzie, the husband of murder victim Lynn Murray – on behalf of victims -- speaks with CO Attorney General Phillip Weiser. Legal legislator Kurtis Morrison is also present on the call. MacKenzie voices immense concern about nonprofits Colorado Healing Fund and the Boulder County Community Foundation collecting donations on behalf of the victims’ families for nearly a month with no response to requested insight, information and transparency and why no victims fund has been established for Boulder. He tells the AG that COVA’s Nancy Lewis has been unresponsive to requests after conducting multiple “needs analysis.”

Yet another family calls the AG to request transparency, insight and information about what is happening with donations.

April 20, 2021 – WEST HEMPSTEAD, NY STOP & STOP shooting. 1 murdered, 2 injured. National Compassion Fund brought in so 100% directly to the victims and survivors in cash payments, thanks to Jeff Dion.

The National Compassion Fund, led by Jeff Dion, has given out over $95 million (soon to be $100 million) to over 3,000 mass shooting victims in direct, cash payments, fulfilling public intent and allowing the victims/survivors privacy and dignity.


Mass shooting families across the nation rise up to help the Boulder families to stop what is seen as yet another privacy invading, needs-based process, with donations being parsed at the nonprofits discretion.

Boulder becomes ground zero in the fight between community-based nonprofits and mass shootings families, who have fought for two decades to make sure that their privacy and dignity is honored and public intent is realized.

June 15, 2021 - ALBERTVILLE, Alabama shooting. 2 people are killed and 2 are wounded in a shooting at the Mueller Co. manufacturing plant. VictimsFirst assists with bringing in trauma specialists to help victims and the National Compassion Fund (Jeff Dion) is called in to ensure 100% of what is collected is given directly to victims.

June 24, 2021 - SURFSIDE CONDO COLLAPSE (Miami, Florida). Champlain Towers South, a 12-story beachfront condominium in the Miami suburb of Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed killing 98 people. The National Compassion Fund and Jeff Dion is brought in to help equitably distribute the funds collected, joined by Javier Nava (Pulse survivor and VictimsFirst Board Member). Nava assisted with the process as a Mass Violence Relief Specialist for the National Compassion Fund, providing valuable input and translation services to help the victims of the condo collapse.

September 23, 2021 - COLLIERVILLE, Tennessee shooting. A mass shooting occurred at a Kroger grocery store in Collierville, Tennessee, marking the second shooting at the grocery chain in 2021. One person was killed and 13 others were injured. The National Compassion Fund and exec director Jeff Dion is brought in to administer the fund in collaboration with the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis and VictimsFirst—ensuring 100% of what is collected goes directly to victims.

November 21, 2021 – WAUKESHA PARADE TRAGEDY, Wisconsin. Six people were killed and 60 were injured when an SUV plowed into the parade and onlookers. United Way, which has repeatedly left families of mass casualty crime feeling re-victimized, steps in and starts collecting funds. Families from previous mass shootings from across the country call and are assured repeatedly by the Waukesha County Community Fund that 100% of what is collected from the public will go directly in cash payments to the victims of the parade attack.

After $5.6 million is collected, a committee is formed under the name United for Waukesha Community Fund which includes an executive from United Way. On the victims’ protocol are two sections allowing eligible nonprofits to apply for funds. One of those nonprofits is United Way’s own IMPACT 2-1-1 which is allowed to receive “priority grant funding.”

November 30, 2021 – OXFORD HIGH SCHOOL shooting, Michigan. Four students were killed and seven injured (including one teacher). Over $1 million is collected. With advice from families who comprise VictimsFirst, The Oxford Village partners with the National Compassion Fund and Jeff Dion to distribute 100% collected directly in cash payments to families of the deceased, those wounded (shot), and those who were directly present and suffering from psychological trauma.

February 2022 – The Colorado Healing Fund continues to sit on donations meant for BOULDER shooting victims and has yet to be fully transparent on how the donations were distributed and where the remaining funds will go. The nonprofit released only two vague financial statements that lack detail.

Boulder families and those from VictimsFirst continue to press the Colorado Healing Fund to be fully transparent without success.

Meanwhile, Va Tech and Va Beach families, under the leadership of VTVCare's Joe Samaha  (daughter Reema murdered at Va Tech) present a proposal for a state-run VA Mass Violence Care Fund to ensure that long-term needs of mass violence victims are taken care of in their state. It is a goal of VTVCare to see to similar Care Funds in every state, which will provide a continuum of care for victims and prevent revictimization from nonprofit organizations such as United Way, which has a sordid history of making mass shooting victims feeling re-victimized.

This comes in the wake of anger and frustration in VA Beach of how the victims were given promises but were not taken care of. It also comes against the backdrop of the problems with the Colorado Healing Fund collecting funds and holding back donations meant for Boulder victims for "long-term needs" and not disbursing 100% to the families of the 10 murdered (none injured). Under terms of the proposal, the state would intiate an endowment and the interest from the principal would be used to take care of medical bills (both for physical wounds and mental health) beginning at the 3rd year mark of the tragedy. It is a model that has been embraced by VictimsFirst and mass shooting families across the nation.

The VA Mass Violence Care Fund is championed by VA Governor Youngkin and approved by the VA General Assembly.

Simultaneously, a clear request for 5/31 Emergency Recovery Funds was made to the VA General Assembly and Governor directly through Former Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax, Esq., which was dismissed.

During 2022 and 2023, the Virginia State Investigative Commission into the 5/31 massacre falls apart, as many members quit citing obfuscation. The Commission had no subpoena powers and limited budget. The Commission findings were eventually published, with no new evidence, conclusion, or closure for VA Beach mass shooting families.

March 19, 2022 – Donations Collected for BOULDER VICTIMS. The Denver Post reports that an estimated $6.5M+ was collected after 10 people were murdered, none injured after the Boulder King Soopers’ shooting (The Colorado Sun estimated $8M). The Community Foundation collected $1.74M and gave $957K to COVA. Another $261K went to the BoulderStrong Resource Center. Another $529K was given to six grantees for community projects. The Museum of Boulder was given $160K when it was in the red $170K. Another $200K went to the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center.
They reported that “the Colorado Healing Fund gave $3.04M of the $4.78M it collected to the nonprofit COVA which went to 10 families and 27 others named as victims. It gave $959,100 to the Boulder Strong Resource Center (even though several families of the deceased live out of state), it kept $221K for itself and held back $570K for future needs (mid- and long-term).

May 2022 – BOULDER FAMILIES FIGHT BACK. Two months later, John MacKenzie (the widower of Boulder mass shooting victim Lynn Murray) and Starr Bartkowiak (the mother of Boulder mass shooting victim Tralona Bartkowiak) start speaking out about the re-victimization they felt at the hand of both the Colorado Healing Fund, whose executive director is 30-something Jordan Finegan and the Colorado Office of Victim Assistance (COVA). Nancy Lewis of COVA, which has received over $1M in donations from the Colorado Healing Fund, comes to their defense.
Finegan’s’ mother was involved in efforts after the Oklahoma City Bombing and heads the advisory committee which includes Rich Audsley, who was involved in re-victimizing the Aurora, CO mass shooting families (COVA was involved in making victims feel re-victimized as well).
It is during this time that Jordan Finegan admits that the amounts announced for the Colorado Healing Fund went up and down because of accidentally counting some donations twice.
In addition, we find out that COVA has also mismanaged over $450,000 in funds:
This same month, Mr. MacKenzie alerts both COVA and the Colorado Healing Fund that his time is running short (his health is deteriorating at a rapid pace) and asks for his family to receive the remainder of the mid- or long-term funds that were held back from donations collected after his wife was murdered. He is denied the request for funds by Jordan Finegan who calls them “demands” and tells him it doesn’t fit into their distribution strategy.
Jordan Finegan’s salary is doubled. 5 and 1/2 months later, on Nov. 4, Mr. MacKenzie dies penniless.
May 14, 2022 – BUFFALO TOPS' MARKET, New York shooting. 10 people murdered, three injured. VictimsFirst starts collecting for Buffalo families. The City of Buffalo invites the National Compassion Fund and Jeff Dion in. 100% of the $6.45 million collected goes directly to families of the deceased, those injured, and those present. Other executives from the NCVC show up in Buffalo for no known reason and victims/survivors across the nation wonder why.
VictimsFirst collects $250,357.00 for the victims and survivors. We also keep victims and survivors on their feet financially with immediate needs through our separate General Victims' Fund.
May 24, 2022 – ROBB ELEMENTARY SCHOOL shooting, Uvalde, Texas. 21 people dead, 17 injured. VictimsFirst immediately starts up a GoFundMe. Victims and survivors from VictimsFirst suggest strongly that they bring in the National Compassion Fund and Jeff Dion to manage donations. And, the National Compassion Fund is invited to manage donations.
It is the largest minor victim base in U.S. history involving a mass shooting.
VictimsFirst also distributes funds for emergency financial needs through our separate General Victims' Fund while locating other resources, as needed, for the victims and survivors. In addition, VictimsFirst begins bird-dogging nonprofits and fundraisers that say they are collecting for the victims and survivors.
VictimsFirst (which ultimately collects over $7.6M for the victims/survivors) grants its funds to the National Compassion Fund which administers a total of $22M to the victims and survivors of the shooting. A track record over years and a solid trust has been built with its executive director, Jeff Dion.
July 4th – HIGHLAND PARK PARADE shooting, Illinois. Seven were murdered, 48 were injured. The Highland Park Community Foundation – run by a local realtor and a nonprofit executive – goes against the advice of the nation’s top experts and decides not to start a Centralized Victims’ Fund. Instead, they launch the July 4th Parade Response Fund based on the Waukesha United Way model. In doing so, it drafts a protocol that leaves out those present in the line of fire but includes nonprofits.
Families of previous mass shootings from across the country object, and demand that they include those present in the line of fire and also that money for nonprofits not be co-mingled with donations meant for victims.
Highland Park Community Foundation dismisses those suggestions and, despite repeated demands for transparency, will not reveal how much they have collected. VictimsFirst continues to collect funds and also help those present with immediate needs (financial help and other resources) while told repeatedly by victims that VictimsFirst is the only place helping them.
For the sake of victims, VictimsFirst also helps the Highland Park Community Foundation to make it legal for them to distribute funds to victims and also makes sure that they know to set up trusts for minor victims.
VictimsFirst collects over $937,000 for the Highland Park victims and grants those funds to the Parade Response Fund for only those categories deemed to go directly to victims to ensure 100% goes to victims and not to nonprofits.
Meanwhile, VictimsFirst continued to help those present in need of financial help. Most of those victims are from the low-income area of Highwood, IL.
VictimsFirst also writes a report to alert the City Council of Highland Park about what occurred behind the scenes and to again advocate for financial help to go to victims and survivors in low-income areas. This report was emailed to the City Council so that it would become part of the public record. 
Nov. 14, 2022 – UVALDE Direct-to-Victim Distribution Begins. 100% of the $22M+ collected after the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, TX shooting goes Directly to the victims and survivors.
Nov. 19 - 20, 2022 – CLUB Q NIGHTCLUB shooting, Colorado Springs, CO. Five dead, at least 25 injured (19 by gunfire) 
The Colorado Healing Fund starts collecting donations. Clearly not understand the re-victimizing model the nonprofit has heaved on mass shooting families over the years, national and local LGBTQ organizations GLAAD, OneColorado and the Contigo Fund (Orlando) endorse the Colorado Healing Fund.


This comes after the Colorado Healing Fund arbitrarily increases its administration fees from the 5% it took from Boulder donations to 10% after Club Q in order to grab a larger share from donors. Not only did the nonprofit double its admin fee without any discernable increase in operational expenses, but mass shooting families also soon discover that Boulder victims only received around 49% to 61% of donations collected after their mass shooting (depending on estimates because the Colorado Healing Fund is notoriously non-transparent).


In fact, of the $1,000,000 that King Soopers/Kroger donated to the victims, families of the murder victims received only $10,000 each or 1%.


Once again, the Colorado Healing Fund plans to withhold a large amount of donations from Club Q victims for “long-term needs.”


In an urgency to protect the Club Q victims from having funds diverted from the, survivors of mass shootings from around the country – from Pulse (Orlando), Aurora (CO), Vegas and elsewhere in Florida – immediately fly in to condemn the re-victimizing practices of the Colorado Healing Fund and to demand that the Club Q victims receive 100% of what was collected for them. See the press conference in full here:


Within days, VictimsFirst begins helping the victims and survivors of the mass shooting with immediate, emergency needs. We are soon told by those on the ground that anxiety is growing among victims and those behind the scenes who are delving into the Colorado Healing Fund over its structure/model as they are realizing there is no Centralized Victims Fund. In addition, they are learning that there is little to no LGBTA+ understanding/sensitivity/competencies at the Colorado Healing Fund or another nonprofit COVA, which is receiving funds from CHF.


At the same time, a local business Good Judy Garage starts a fund on GoFundMe so that there is a true victims’ fund. She contacts VictimsFirst and we urge them to bring in the country’s leading expert on victim fund disbursement, Jeff Dion and the National Compassion Fund, for the fair and equitable distribution model that Jeff employs.


Mass shooting families from across the nation – VATech, NIU, Aurora, Newtown, Vegas, Orlando, Buffalo and Uvalde – join together to announce and praise Good Judy Garage for following through on its promise to give $100% of the donations collected Directly to the Club Q victims. See:


Behind the scenes, VictimsFirst gathers together the admin fees to cover all costs associated with admin fees. The name of the Centralized Fund becomes The Club Q Victims and Survivors Compassion Fund:

Within a short time, a committee comprised solely of LGBTQ+ is established; that includes two survivors from the Aurora theater mass shooting.


Meanwhile, Club Q’s owner also starts a GoFundMe to pay his employees, but that is roundly criticized as well as victims speak against the inequitable distribution.

December 2022 — Sol Tribe mass shooting victim advocates go public to also condemn The Colorado Healing Fund and also the Colorado Office of Victim Assistance (COVA) for the way they were left out and how they treated the affected LGBTQ+ community:
Bread and Roses Legal Center, which provided financial assistance and holistic support to Sol Tribe victims/survivors through direct mutual aid work, also immediately begin helping Club Q victims and survivors in incredibly meaningful ways using a victim-centered approach. They worked around the clock to get much-needed financial aid directly into the hands of both Sol Tribe and Club Q victims/survivors.
The Colorado Healing Fund execs – Jordan Finegan, the disgraced politician Cynthia Coffman and Steve Siegel (who was involved in the re-victimizing model of the 7/20 Commission in Aurora where donations would be held back from victims/survivors) – state that it’s going to bring in LGBTQ+ “advisors” while it continues to collect funds.

The nonprofit then confuse the media, the public and the victims by changing its language to state 100% will go to “victim services” according to its Fund chair – not 100% directly to victims – so donations are still going to its “community partners” (i.e. nonprofits).


Eventually, Club Q victims’ families and survivors along with local, mutual aid workers/community victim advocates speak out saying that the Colorado Healing Fund has previously left the Sol Tribe mass shooting families high and dry. This comes after similar re-victimized by the Colorado Healing Fund of the Boulder victims. Local advocates, VictimsFirst and, eventually the families and victims themselves begin questioning the methods of Colorado Healing Fund. The negative press generated by victims continues to plague the Colorado Healing Fund which has no explanation for raising its admin fee and has no life experience with the LGBTQ+ community.


The Colorado Healing Fund is again, roundly condemned by mass shooting victims across the country. Jordan Finnegan steps aside and a new executive director steps in, but nothing changes. Club Q victims continue to pound away on the nonprofit to release the funds already intended for them as the animosity escalates. Behind the scenes, questions are still being asked of them by VictimsFirst and Boulder families.

Club Q victims, fresh out of the hospital and families of the deceased, along with Aurora and Boulder families and the local mutual aid/legal aid advocates join together on the steps of the Capitol to push for an end to the Colorado Healing Fund.


Nov. 22, 2022 – CHESAPEAKE WALMART shooting, Virginia. Six dead, four injured. VictimsFirst starts collecting for the victims of the shooting. A local, community nonprofits, The Planning Council in Norfolk, VA, begins collecting donations. Mass shooting families wait and see how this will be handled.

In light of the latest shooting in their state, VA Tech and VA Beach families continue to push for a VA Mass Violence Care Fund, a model that can be duplicated across our 50 states.
Dec. 2022 — Victims/survivors of the Highland Park Parade shooting who were present in the line of fire but left out of getting financial help from the Parade Response Fund take to social media to expose and condemn the re-victimizing model created by the Highland Park Community Founda

Meanwhile, in Norfolk, VA, The Planning Council announces that 100% of what is collected is going directly to the victims/survivors of the Chesapeake Walmart mass shooting. Families of other mass shootings call to thank them.
Dec. 23, 2022 — VictimsFirst grants 100% of the donations it collected on GoFundMe to The Planning Council so 100% will go directly to victims/survivors of the Chesapeake Walmart shooting.
VictimsFirst continues to help victims and survivors of Club Q wit
h immediate emergency needs, those in Highland Park, and in Uvalde who need a little extra help during the holidays.

Jan. 21, 2023 – STAR BALLROOM DANCE STUDIO, MONTEREY PARK, CA. 10 dead, 10 injured at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio. The Monterey Park Lunar New Year Victims Fund was launched on GoFundMe by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice of Southern California. VictimsFirst urged them to change the language of the GoFundMe to be inclusive of all. It collected more than $1M, but those who survived were not considered part of the victim base. Hence, they received no disbursement, and thereby were left out of donations meant for victims.

Jan. 23, 2023 – MIGRANT FARM WORKERS in Half Moon Bay, CA. 8 dead, 1 critically-injured. Migrant farm workers – from China and Mexico – faced a lack of funds or interest from donors. Despite this, the Mavericks Community Foundation and local community leaders went above and beyond to make sure that a Centralized Victims Fund was created and worked tirelessly to include everyone – even those who were displaced from housing by the shooting itself. VictimsFirst lobbied that those displaced from their housing should not be included in the Victim’s fund for mass shooting victims because while they may have been impacted, they did not in fact, survive a mass shooting. We were very thankful to all in Half Moon Bay who worked so tirelessly and cared so deeply.

March 27, 2023 – NASHVILLE COVENANT SCHOOL. 6 dead, few injured. Given the experience we had with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and diverting funds to other nonprofits instead of 100% going to victims of the Vegas mass shooting, VictimsFirst already knows that Nashville is going to be a challenge. While the school/church sets up multiple funds to help the causes it feels strongly about, VictimsFirst sets up a fund to help the families of the deceased and physically injured. The Church only wants to use the VictimsFirst fund for victims and not add any funds to what we’ve collected. We are shocked to learn that one of the Vegas Resiliency Center associates is whispering in the ear of a Church elder about a “long-term needs” plan taken from donations.


Families directly impacted watch as funds are diverted away from them to other causes and begin raising concerns behind the scenes as does VictimsFirst. We encourage the Church elders and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to bring in the country’s leading expert, Jeff Dion. The Community Foundation does. Meanwhile, VictimsFirst calls large donors to ask them to give even a portion of what they are collecting actually to victims’ families of the shooting – after all, the money is being collected on the death of these educators and children. There wouldn’t be a penny to collect if not for their deaths.


VictimsFirst continues to fundraise so those most directly impacted will be helped. We also listen to victims and make sure we carry their voices forward to advocate for kids in the third-grade classroom where the gunman shot into. The behind-the-scenes questions and push by family members of the deceased to the church and the Community Foundation brings forth more donations from Church to give funds over for them. A disastrous start with a better than expected finish. But, still no transparency but for VictimsFirst and Jeff Dion’s work.

April 10, 2023 --  LOUISVILLE, KY OLD NATIONAL BANK, 5 dead and 8 injured.

April 13, 2023 – LOUISVILLE, KY CHICKASAW PARK, 2 dead and four wounded.

Donations pour in following the Old National Bank shooting, prompting VictimsFirst to initiate a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe that guarantees 100% collected will go directly to victims. Jeff Dion is enlisted by the bank to establish a centralized victims fund through the National Compassion Fund. With the Chickasaw Park shooting happening days later in the same city, Jeff Dion collaborates with The Community Foundation to create a centralized victims' fund for the victims of the Chicasaw Park shooting as well. Unfortunately, being situated in a black historical district, the Chickasaw Park Survivors' Fund receives significantly fewer donations compared to the Old National Bank Survivors' Fund. Despite VictimsFirst's extensive outreach efforts to raise funds for the Chickasaw Park shooting victims, media attention remains disproportionately focused on the bank shooting. As a result, the funds allocated to the park shooting victims are meager, despite the comparable levels of grief, injury, and agony experienced by both sets of victims.

May 6, 2023 – PREMIUM OUTLET MALL, ALLEN, TX. 9 dead, 6 wounded. VictimsFirst begins a Centralized Victims Fund and is endorsed by the City of Allen to handle the distribution for the victims’ families, the wounded and survivors. They thank us for our Best Practices for Mass Casualty Crime. We employ a multi-prong plan – to help anyone who is verified with immediate needs funds and to also make sure the large fund specifically for families of the deceased and injured receive goes exclusively to them in an equitable manner. The Dallas Community Foundation collects for other nonprofits and works in conjunction with VictimsFirst. Large donors go to both help the victims directly and through community nonprofits with the executive director and her team vetting all the nonprofits who must prove that they are helping victims directly. VictimsFirst’s model works perfectly, thanks to large donors like the Credit Union of Texas and others’ commitment to doing the right thing by the victim base. They work closely with the Dallas of Public Safety’s victim advocates who were strongly committed to helping those directly impacted.


In addition, VictimsFirst provides all other resources – including making sure those who need trauma specialists receive care, ensuring that the mother of one of the murdered receives the intense medical care she needs and that the ashes of one murder victim makes it to Argentina (despite our countries having no relationship and, hence, no embassy). VictimsFirst also pays for wound care and nursing care while paving the way for costs of reconstruction surgery for the most catastrophically wounded to be absorbed by the hospital’s philanthropic unit. Communication between the VictimsFirst team and the victims and survivors provides full transparency. The large, location-specific fund is equitably distributed to families of the deceased and wounded. VictimsFirst initiates discussions about establishing a similar long-term needs model in the state of Texas that VA Tech and Va Beach families are working to implement in their state.

Oct. 2023 -- VA Tech and VA Beach families triumph in establishing the first permanent fund in the state of VA and in the United States for victims of mass violence's long-term needs. The Virginia Mass Violence Care Fund is embraced by families across the country who have endured mass violence, including the Club Q, Sol Tribe, and Boulder victims who have begun advocating for the same model to be implemented in CO.

Oct. 25, 2023 – RESTAURANT, BOWLING ALLEY, LEWISTON, ME. 18 dead, 13 injured in two locations: a bowling alley and restaurant. The Maine Community Foundation in Ellsworth, ME is tapped to help and VictimsFirst begins a location-specific Victims Fund to help all the victims of the shooting. VictimsFirst provides Best Practices for Mass Casualty Crime and works behind the scenes to raise the donation amount straight through the holidays. We endorse and encourage the Foundation to bring in Jeff Dion to help guide them in the disbursement of a Centralized Victims Fund. One member of our alliance network and one board member fly into Maine to help Jeff Dion with the protocol for fund disbursement while we speak to the state about a better plan for long-term needs than holding back donations already meant for victims and their families. A town hall is conducted for full transparency. The Maine Community Foundation is very similar to the experience we had with the Ventura County Community Foundation. Both professional and compassionate, conducting themselves in the best interest of the victims once again.

VA Tech's Joe Samaha, whose daughter Reema was murdered on the Blacksburg campus along with 31 others, introduces politicians in Maine to the model used by VA for the long-term needs of mass shooting families.

VictimsFirst continues to help victims and survivors Directly from Allen, Club Q, Uvalde, Buffalo, Boulder, Va Beach and Orlando/Pulse through the last months of the year.

Back in Va Beach, The City continues to negate all accountability for the events of 5/31/19, and focuses commemoration events on the “heroic” efforts of its First Responders, diminishing the loss of 12 innocent lives and manufacturing a narrative around which to celebrate itself.

The City of Virginia Beach has since invested more than $35M to upgrade the crime scene while paying nothing beyond workman’s compensation to victims. The City of Virginia Beach also spent millions of dollars soliciting and hiring design firms for a Permanent Memorial, and asked victims to participate in the process by answering questions such as “What activities would you like to see at the Memorial site.”

November/December 2023: Club Q victims continue to fight for all funds to be distributed to them and eventually, the Colorado Healing Fund relents – however they continue to dodge questions and give zero transparency. The Boulder families still have no transparency.

An Open Letter is sent out to all politicians and the Colorado Healing Fund by victims of multiple mass shootings in Colorado asking for an audit, full transparency, the release of all withheld funds to the Boulder families, and the dissolution of the Colorado Healing Fund. They also want the same model established by the VA Tech and VA Beach families in the state of VA for long-term needs in CO: They lobby for a CO Mass Violence Care Fund.

Bread and Roses fights behind the scenes for the Sol Tribe families to receive the rest of the funds that the Colorado Healing Fund is still holding onto while VictimsFirst closes out 2023 still working to get full transparency and all funds for the Boulder families from the Colorado Healing Fund. As of the end of Dec., the new executive director is unable to answer the simplest of questions, such as how much is still left in the fund for Boulder and if the numbers on the webiste are accurate.

Dec. 2023 -- Orlando/Pulse, victims and survivors rose to fight for their rights after years of feeling re-victimized by its City -- the City of Orlando -- in a scenario that is reminiscent of what the VA Beach families have faced. After 7 1/2 years, there is still no memorial for the Pulse Club victims. Instead, the victims' families and survivors struggled as a nonprofit, the onePulse Foundation led by Pulse Club owner Barbara Poma, collected millions for a museum the victims didn't want and a memorial that never came to fruition.

They also learned in the past year that the Pulse Club had illegal renovations and code violations that hindered rescue and their escape, but the City -- who knew about it -- never brought the Club into compliance. Instead, the Mayor threw in with the Pulse Club owner to be part of the onePulse Foundation. The nonprofit would change its mission statement to remove all financial help for victims while it collected millions. Further, the brainchild of the tourist attraction museum was Pamela Schwartz who, it turns out, was grabbing items from the memorial before children were even buried without permission of the families. She has been advising others across the U.S. to follow her lead (including in Boulder), which has victims of mass shootings disgusted. For an entire timeline of what has taken place in Orlando since the shooting, see:


bottom of page