Santa Fe ISD announced this week it would be partnering with the National Compassion Fund and GoFundMe to distribute 100 percent of the money raised in recent fundraisers to the families of those killed and injured in the May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School. 

The announcement came days after a rash of complaints on Facebook stating the money raised would be kept by the school and not given to the families. 

But the district, through the Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation, said it has been working to find the right way to distribute the money to the families that are still recovering. That venue turned out to be the National Compassion Fund, a leading authority on how victims are compensated for loss. 

The National Compassion Fund will advise the committee; assist with ongoing fundraising efforts; administer victim application and vetting processes; and coordinate the distribution of proceeds from the Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation’s official campaign, other fundraisers, and third-party donation sources. GoFundMe will advise the Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation and support both ongoing fundraising and distribution of proceeds to victims and their families. The district said 100 percent of the donations will be distributed directly to the victims and their families. 

The Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, will serve as the central repository for the Santa Fe Strong Fund, and a local steering committee will be responsible for setting the fund’s distribution policy. 

The Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation has formed the steering committee that includes local leaders to ensure that the voices of the victims are heard, as they are integral to the distribution process. Experts with experience in mass crime victim compensation and the needs of crime victims will also be asked to serve in a volunteer capacity. The fund and committee are designed to be completely transparent, and the committee will inform the public of its deliberations in the distribution of funds. 

While Santa Fe is still learning how to address the mass shooting and trauma that has followed, the National Compassion Fund has a lot of experience handling tragic events and distributing funding to families that are impacted. The fund was founded in collaboration with parents and family members from some of the worst mass casualty events in U.S. history – September 11th, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, Aurora, Oak Creek Sikh Temple and Newtown. Unlike other charitable funds, 100 percent of donations are distributed directly to the established victim base of these terrible atrocities. The National Compassion Fund has the experience to help victims navigate this process and to treat victims with the respect and dignity they deserve. NCF also preserves the intent of donors who want to know that their gift is going directly to those harmed and will not be used for other purposes. 

“Our hearts go out to the students, teachers, their families and the entire Santa Fe High School community,” said Jeffrey Dion, executive director of the National Compassion Fund. “The National Compassion Fund is honored to join forces with the Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation and GoFundMe to increase charitable giving and help meet the overwhelming needs of victims of mass shootings. We stand in solidarity with all of those impacted by gun violence.” 

If anyone is interested in making a donation to the Santa Fe Strong fund, you can donate in-person at any Texas First Bank banking center or by mail (checks should be payable to Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation) and mailed to Texas First Bank, Santa Fe Strong Fund, P.O. Box 608, Santa Fe, TX 77510. 

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