In all, 64 people affected by tragedy, including eighteen family members of Aurora theater shooting victims and fifteen family members of students killed at Columbine High School, have signed on to the call for a "national compassion fund" protocol. The other signers include family members of victims of the Oklahoma City bombing, September 11, the Virginia Tech shooting, the Sikh temple shooting and the Sandy Hook shooting.
The idea came about, Larimer says, when the families began talking to each other and realized they shared a common concern -- that the charities soliciting donations "latch on to this money and distribute it to everybody but the victims.
"If this protocol was in place, then the next time a tragedy occurs, the government knows what to do, the American public knows where to donate money to ensure it goes to the victims, and there will be accountability and fraud control," he says.That's not what happened in the case of the Aurora shooting, Larimer says. More than $5 million in donations was collected through a fund set up by the non-profit Arvada-based Community First Foundation on its website, GivingFirst.org. But the money wasn't immediately given to victims. Instead, some of it was distributed to other non-profits.
In August, about a month after the July 20 shooting, the families of eleven of the twelve people killed held a press conference to express disappointment that victims and their families were not consulted on how to distribute the donations.
Continue reading for more on what the families are requesting.