Target: President Obama
Goal: Streamline the process of routing financial donations to victims and their families in the aftermath of national tragedies.
In the aftermath of tragedies like Aurora or Newtown, it’s common to see numerous fundraisers established to aid grieving families and survivors who have seen their life turned upside-down. Sometimes, the funds are raised for a specific purpose, such as the establishment of a scholarship or creation of a playground. Other times, the funds are raised with the more general goal of supporting the victims. That money should go to the victims’ families, but there is often confusion as numerous nonprofits collect money, or as money is donated to foundations with limits on how they can disburse the funds. Disbursement is further complicated by complex legal requirements and the emotional strain of the families.
An informal group of 64 people, who have lost relatives in tragedies like the September 11th attacks and the Sikh temple shooting in 2012 in Wisconsin, is attempting to bring the snarl of post-tragedy donations under control. These activists are looking into the possibility of creating a federal or nonprofit entity that would coordinate donations raised in the event of a future tragedy. In a statement, the group said, “Going back to Oklahoma City, we’ve seen families who have had to endure not only horrific loss, but also the unimaginable task of wrestling with Byzantine nonprofit bureaucracies to access financial relief intended for them. It’s time to stop the madness. We cannot watch this happen, yet again, in Sandy Hook.”
The program has seen support from Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington lawyer who has experience administering funds for victims of September 11th, Aurora, and other tragedies. “I think it’s a great idea,” Feinberg said. “The question is: Is there the political will to do it?”
Support this unnamed, ad hoc group’s efforts and urge the President to create a trusted fund that will properly disburse donations raised in honor and aid of victims of future tragedies.
Dear Mr. President,
National tragedies are becoming a far too common occurrence, but as we seek tighter gun control measures or focus on the effect of violence in the media, we are in danger of overlooking those who have suffered the most. In an outpouring of sympathy and support, donations are raised nationwide to assist the victims and their families, but the process is bogged with confusion and complexity. No one should be forced to “jump through hoops in the midst of tragedy,” like the families of victims in Aurora, Colorado, or “basically beg and apply for dollars,” like the families of victims in Virginia Tech.
We urge you to create an entity, federal or nonprofit, whose task it would be to oversee the disbursement of funds raised in aid of victims and their families in the aftermath of a tragedy. The next time there’s a shooting or an oil spill, a trusted fund can be established that people can rest assured will properly disburse donations to the families in a timely manner, without undue burden in a time of emotional trauma.
[Your Name Here]
Photocredit: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Charles Oki via Wikimedia Commons