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) https://www.nbcnews.com/watch/rock-center/oklahoma-disaster-relief-fund-under-fire-20372547848
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) http://bit.ly/116Meyz
Bottom of page 133 (page 155 in report on The Healing Fund): https://schoolshooters.info/sites/default/files/Columbine%20-%20Governor'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) http://nbcnews.to/YSt5wm
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 not happy. Grieving parents fight in court to try to get the donations collected for their families to their families. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vt9syD9GnY8
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): https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/families-aurora-shooting-victims-5-million-donations-non-profits-not-article-1.1146381
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): https://www.ctpost.com/default/article/Daughter-of-shooting-victim-wants-funds-disbursed-4331443.php
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 Jeff Dion, the current executive director who is also a victim of crime as his sister was murdered years earlier.
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.
Tucson and Alturas (CA) families endorse the 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, 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 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 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.
National Compassion Fund work 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.
2015 to 2020 -- After Pulse, the National Compassion Fund 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: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/25/us/politics/sandy-hook-money.html
2020 -- Pandemic hits.
2021 – As the country begins to open up, mass shootings are on the 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:
It sets 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 – OCONOMOWOC, WISCONSIN ROUNDY’S DISTRIBUTION CENTER shooting. 2 murdered. VictimsFirst assisted with bringing in trauma specialists to help victims. The National Compassion Fund 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. 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.
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 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. https://nationalcompassion.org/fund/indianapolis-4-15-survivors-fund/
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.
The National Compassion Fund 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.
BACK IN BOULDER:
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 assisted with bringing in trauma specialists to help victims and the National Compassion Fund 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 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 was 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. https://nationalcompassion.org/fund/collierville-survivors-fund/