A fund to benefit families directly affected by the Oregon District shooting could reach $1.5 million or more, Mike Parks, president of The Dayton Foundation, predicted Monday.
As of Monday, some 2,800 gifts totalling about $620,000 in cash have been donated to the fund, and Parks expects that number to rise quickly.
He expects the funds to be buttressed as well by “hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars of pledges” and by fundraisers that have either happened or have been been planned over the next few weeks.
“I think you very conservatively could say the funds for these families will be at least at $1.5 million,” Parks said.
Every dollar contributed to the fund will go to the families of those who lost their lives or who were seriously injured in the Aug. 4 shooting. No fees, no attorney or credit card fees will be taken away, Parks said.
“I do think this is a small way, a very small way, that people can show their support and show kindness and their compassion toward people whose lives have been changed forever,” Parks said.
The Dayton Foundation was set up 12 hours after a Bellbrook man shot into a weekend night crowd on East Fifth Street, killing nine and wounding dozens more. Dayton police killed the shooter, ending the carnage.
Gifts have poured in from across the country and indeed the world, Parks said. “Our community has stepped up in a very significant way.”
It should take about 60 days to get money to the families, Parks estimated. However, the foundation will leave the fund open longer than 60 days.
Having talked with representatives of communities who have gone through similar mass shooting events, Parks said his foundation has been advised to assure Dayton that all donated money will go to families of shooting victims.
A Bellbrook family in this tragedy lost both a daughter and a son. Dayton police have identified that family’s son, Connor Betts, as the shooter responsible.
“Donations to the tragedy fund will not go for the loss of the shooter’s life,” Parks said Monday. “But the family will receive consideration for the loss of their daughter, who was one of the nine taken.”
The foundation is forming a community oversight committee for this fund’s distribution, Parks said. The goal is to identify 12 to 15 people to help guide the foundation on establishing distribution protocols, and he hopes to have that committee ready by mid-week next week.
The committee will decide the percentage of funds going to families who lost a loved one and the percentage appropriate for families of those who were injured. The committee will also help discuss distributions based on severity of injuries.
Cox Media Group Ohio, including WHIO and Dayton Daily News, has partnered with the Dayton Foundation in this fund-raising effort.
Individuals interested in contributing to the fund may make a secure, online credit card donation at www.daytonfoundation.org/dayton_oregon_district_tragedy_fund.html or mail a check to The Dayton Foundation, 40 N. Main Street, Suite 500, Dayton, OH 45423. “Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund” or “Fund #8365” should be designated on the check or in the fund name field.