Orlando Victims Fund Transparency Statement
Distribution of Funds
The distribution of funds to the victims and families of mass casualty crimes, including shootings and terrorist attacks, requires the highest level of transparency, complete accountability and closely managed stages of distribution. Below are the details on how the Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund is structured to meet those needs. Please note, all donations are through Equality Florida Institute, Inc., a 501(c)(3) entity. Contributions are deductible to the full extent of the law.
Equality Florida made and maintains this clear commitment in all of our communications: 100% of all funds received will be distributed to support every single victim of the horrific shooting at Orlando's Pulse Nightclub. This includes victims’ families, survivors, and those in the club who may not have suffered physical injury but are in need of trauma support. This heinous act targeted our community, and, it is our responsibility to provide a mechanism to safely and securely donate to the victims of this tragedy and their families.
The victims were overwhelmingly Latino LGBTQ young people. Whether citizen or undocumented resident, all victims will be eligible to receive funds.
We have spoken to victims of other mass shootings. We know the needs are great. We will deliver 100% of all funds we receive to the victims of the horrific shooting at Orlando's Pulse Nightclub. This includes victims’ families, survivors, and those in the club who may not have suffered physical injury but are in need of trauma support.
Equality Florida, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida (The Center) and the National Compassion Fund have announced a partnership with OneOrlando to ensure all funds collected for victims are disbursed in a unified process that will expedite funds, ensure transparency and safeguard against fraud.
The National Compassion Fund is a project of the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC). The Fund was first proposed by victims and families from past mass casualty crimes across the country, including 9/11, Columbine, VA Tech, NIU, Aurora, Oak Creek, and Newtown. After they experienced stressful and prolonged negotiations attempting to collect money donated in their names, they asked NCVC to partner with them to develop a new model of giving—one that genuinely serves victims, donors, and the wider public.
For 30 years, NCVC has been the most comprehensive national resource committed to advancing victims’ rights and helping victims of all types of crime rebuild their lives. The Fund is overseen by people whose expertise is specifically with crime victims. Their three decades of experience makes them the leading national resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. The National Center for Victims of Crime does not charge any fees for this service. Visit http://nationalcompassionfund.org/ for more details on this incredible organization.
Stages of Distribution
The first step that leads to distribution of funds is identifying the full group of recipients. To that end, we have been pushing hard with every form of media available to us to get the victims' families, survivors, and those in the club who may not have suffered physical injury but are in need of trauma support to register.
Please help us get the word out.
We ask all victims to call this hotline to get connected with the resources they need:
VictimConnect Resource Center
Disaster relief professionals around the world recognize that it can typically take 6-9 months to fully distribute all funds from a victim’s fund of this nature. Of course, victims and their families have immediate needs that must be met, and Equality Florida is committed to meeting that need. In working with our partners, we are expediting the process of fund disbursement to ensure there is no gap in the safety net for these families. We expect funds to be dispersed as quickly as eight weeks.
Immediate needs are currently being handled in a number of ways. State and county agencies, along with in-kind donations from corporate supporters, are the cornerstone of immediate victim relief. Uber has been helping with transportation, funeral homes are donating services, JetBlue and United Airlines are helping with flights for families and transportation of the dead for burial - the list of corporate supporters and the immediate relief they are bringing grows daily. Other expenses, such as hospital and medical costs, wherever possible are being negotiated so they can be settled later and at a discounted rate. Finally, any emergency costs that can’t be handled by state and county agencies, in-kind support or negotiations and require immediate cash disbursement are being communicated by Equality Florida and disbursed in accordance with state and federal regulations.
The National Center for Victims of Crime has begun deployment of a short-term plan for disbursements from our fundraising efforts, and connecting victims with the immediate funds available via state and federal resources. Victims are urged to call Florida Crime Victims Compensation at 1-800-226-6667.
Additionally, victims or family members who have questions about the National Compassion Fund and/or resources available should call the VictimConnect Resource Center toll-free at 855-4-VICTIM (855-484-2846) between the hours of 9am and 7pm eastern time. Spanish speaking victim assistance specialists are available.
As soon as possible, we will move from the urgent, immediate crisis mode we are current in, finalize the process for identifying all qualified victims and their families, and make the final distributions that can hopefully offer some sliver of solace during the healing process. It is too early to identify what long-term support would be beneficial to the community, but that is a discussion to have later and something to be funded separately. This fund is solely about the victims' families and the survivors.
We hope that this outline provides complete clarity about how this Victims Fund is being managed with regards to transparency, accountability and distribution. Please send any questions or comments to [email protected]. Thank you to the countless people and organizations that are generously giving their time and resources. The worldwide outreach is truly humbling and inspiring during this tragic period of mourning.