MSD Victims' Fund Holds One Last Town Hall To Get Input On How Money Should Be Distributed
Since holding two town hall meetings last week, the steering committee in charge of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund is moving along quickly in the process to get money to people affected by February's mass shooting in Parkland.
But people who still want to give input in how those funds should be dispersed have one more chance to do so at a meeting in Coral Springs on Tuesday.
The victims' fund has roughly $7.5 million in it so far, most of which is on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe. It's set to be divided up in three main categories:
Direct family of the victims will get the largest part of the donations, all the same amount. Then, individuals who were treated for physical injuries will each receive the same amount of money. Lastly, people with psychological trauma can apply for some of the funds.
Former Florida U.S. Sen. George LeMieux chairs the committee that is figuring out how the funds will get split up. He clarified that committee members are already factoring some Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) cases into their planning.
“Those students and faculty who were in the 1200 building where the shootings occurred, would be presumed to have had emotional distress and mental anguish, and they would receive funds automatically,” LeMieux said.
Anyone who is struggling with psychological trauma - but was not in the 1200 building - can still apply to receive funding as long as they prove they have sought some type of counseling by April 30, 2018.
The first two town halls about the victims’ fund were held in Davie, more than a 20-mile drive from Parkland. LeMieux said the committee was worried about large crowds when it chose the initial location. The third and final meeting will be in nearby Coral Springs.
“The thought we had was, we want to make sure that everybody who wants to talk to us and give us input about how these funds should be distributed has the chance,” he said.
It’s the Broward Education Foundation that chose the steering committee and is holding the funds. The steering committee is getting staffing help and advising from the National Compassion Fund.
The MSD Victims’ Fund is made up of donations from businesses, citizens, celebrities and other philanthropic groups. It's a separate pool of money from any compensation the state is set to give for people to recover medical expenses and funeral costs. In other words, it won't be based on need.
People can start applying in May, but minors will need a parent to apply for them. The current plan is for the funds to start being dispersed sometime in July.
The final town hall-style meeting to ask questions and discuss the MSD Victims’ Fund, will be held at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts, 2855 Coral Springs Dr., Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m.