There is a promise of more transparency from a group collecting donations for the families of the victims of the Boulder shooting.
BOULDER, Colo .– The nonprofit that raised the most money after a mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers has doubled what it handed out to families in the two weeks since her husband one victim expressed concerns about the slow pace of distribution and asked for more transparency.
The Colorado Healing Fund distributed $ 1.5 million to victims on Monday, up from about $ 700,000 in early June, according to former Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who started the nonprofit with a grant from his office and now serves as chairman of an advisory board for the fund. The fund has raised $ 4.4 million since the March 22 shooting, Coffman said.
The nonprofit will now provide a quarterly public report to clarify how much has been collected and how much has been distributed, according to Coffman. She said the decision to release a report was made before John Mackenzie, whose wife Lynn Murray died in the shooting, made his concerns public.
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Mackenzie formed a group called the Stand Up Bolder, asking the state to step in, take over the funds raised, hire a special master to distribute the money, and audit the nonprofits. Mackenzie specifically requested that attorney Kenneth Feinberg be the fund’s special master.
Feinberg was chosen by the then governor. John Hickenlooper to distribute the funds raised after the filming of the Aurora Theater. He has also dealt with compensation for victims following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and, more recently, allocating money to victims of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Denver.
Feinberg said he knew little about the situation in Boulder, but could relate to the tension.
“In fairness to everyone involved in Boulder trying to do the right thing, I mean no one is literally trying to sabotage anything, it’s just that no good deed goes unpunished,” he said. Feinberg said in an interview with 9NEWS.
Other than speaking with Mackenzie, he said he had not been contacted by any head of state regarding the Boulder shooting and said he was not familiar with Colorado Healing Fund efforts.
The fund was created as a new model of charitable giving in the wake of mass tragedies. Members of its board say the fund is intended to provide support not only in the short term, but also in the long term.
Feinberg said he came from a different school of thought on victim compensation.
“Long-term need, there isn’t enough money, there really isn’t,” he said. “And I have found in my own experience, not with regard to Boulder, the sooner you collect the money and distribute it and move on as best you can, the better.”
After the Aurora Theater shooting, Feinberg said he decided that most of the funds raised should go to family members of victims who died in the shooting. It was shared equally between them.
The remainder of the funds were given to victims who were physically injured in the shooting, with the dollar amount depending on the time each victim spent in hospital.
“It wasn’t a difficult calculation… one by one,” he said. “The hardest part is the emotion… like the families I hear now in Boulder, very emotional angry, frustrated. Absolutely understandable.
Feinberg said that no matter how generous Americans are, they often forget that money won’t bring back a loved one.
“I don’t care if you give people $ 20 million, it won’t heal, it won’t close,” he said.
“Money is a very hollow substitute for loss.”
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Contact 9News reporter Steve Staeger with advice on this or any other story by emailing [email protected]
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