Virginia Beach Tragedy fund donations are making its way to victims and their families

(Southside Daily/Melanie Occhiuzzo)
(Southside Daily)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Victims from the municipal center mass shooting and their families will be getting a portion of the funds collected by United Way of South Hampton Roads starting Tuesday, said Michele Anderson, president and CEO of the organization.

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“We were tasked with doing what we do best, taking care of needs through careful collection, management and distribution of funds,” Anderson said during a news conference Tuesday. “United Way is uniquely equipped to handle such a fund due to our past emergency response experience and our financial infrastructure.”

As of Aug. 9, United Way of Southampton Roads has received $4,026,317.06 for the Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund, said Dawn Glynn, chairwoman United Way of South Hampton Roads’ Board of Directors.

From that funding the organization was able to pay for all funeral expenses for the victims, totaling $340,217.65, she said, in addition to an initial disbursement of $450,000 which was made to families in July.

The second disbursement will be for a total of $3,080,000.

A final third disbursement will take place in a few months as medical needs and other gaps in coverage emerge, Glynn said.

Every dollar collected went to the victims’ families, Anderson said.

How the disbursal works

The funding was disbursed based on the needs of each of the 16 families, determined by Jeffrey Breit, the local victims advocate attorney helping to advise fund disbursement.

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Breit met with each of the families, talked to them about their needs, consulted two “local judges” and the personal files of all the families to help determine how much funding each of the 16 families would need.

“There’s never enough money,” he noted, adding he felt the 70 to 100 hours he spent interviewing the families has shown him that every family was affected differently.

Breit declined to name the two local judges he consulted with, ponly saying the judges are not from Virginia Beach.

Families with small children, medical issues, elderly or disabled dependents and so on were given a chance to explain their financial situations to Breit.

He also took into account whether there was life insurance, and/or workers compensation available to the families.

The majority of the funding came from local sources, Glynn said.

Anderson said 150 companies and more than 3,500 individuals in the community donated to the Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund.

Donations came in a wide range from a little girl who donated her birthday money to Towne Banks’ $500,000 donation, she added.

In order to protect the privacy of the victims and their families, United Way of South Hampton Roads will not be releasing the individual amounts each victim or their families received from the fund.

The fund will be accepting donations for at least the next three to four months, Anderson said.

To find the tragedy fund, click here.

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