UVALDE, Texas – In the three and a half months since the Robb Elementary shooting, over $16 million has been donated to the Uvalde Together We Rise Fund. On Tuesday, those impacted can begin applying for the funds that came in from around the world immediately following the shooting.
“It can’t bring can bring any of these 19 children and two teachers back,” Mickey Gerdes said. “But, hopefully, it will have some positive outcome in the end.”
Gerdes was born and raised in Uvalde. He’s the chair of the 10-person local steering committee that decides on who’s eligible for the fund and how much they’ll get.
“It’s been action-packed and challenging,” Gerdes said.
The steering committee is being guided by the National Compassion Fund, an organization with eight years and 22 mass casualty event experiences.
“They can trust the money is going to get to the people who were directly impacted,” said Jeff Dion, executive director of the National Compassion Fund.
After two community meetings and private family meetings, the NCF and the steering committee published the Final Protocol which lays out how the money will be disbursed based on five categories.
CATEGORIES OF ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS
A. Application for Legal Heirs of the beloved 21 people killed
B. Individual Physical Injury Applications
C. Individuals Present in the West Wing Experiencing Psychological Trauma
D. Class and Funeral Home Workers Fired Upon
E. Individuals Present elsewhere on the Robb Elementary campus
“Everybody’s got like three questions to ask,” Dion explained.
Those questions are: “What are you going to do with the money? Who’s going to get the money? Where do you want the money deposited?”
With young kids at Robb Elementary eligible for the money, that last question is very important.
“If it is a minor, then the money’s going to need to go into a custodial account or a trust. The family gets to decide where you want to put it,” Dion explained.
For families on government assistance that are affected, there are other considerations that also need to be made.
“There are a significant number of people who receive certain levels of public assistance that are income-based,” Dion said. “We want to make sure that we don’t give someone money and then they lose eligibility.”
The applications are available in both English and Spanish, and documents will need to be provided to prove eligibility.
The application process is open until Oct. 6. Then, each of the applications will be reviewed by the local steering committee.
The Funds Distribution Plan will be finalized on Nov. 7.
One week later, on Nov. 14, that money will start to be put into the hands of the people who need it.
Once all of the money is disbursed, an independent auditing firm will make sure 100% of the funds were given out correctly.
Tonight on the #NightBeat applications open tomorrow for the Uvalde Together We Rise Fund. $16 million has been donated. A final protocol was published by the local steering committee to decide who is eligible for disbursement of funds, that’s broken down into 5 categories. pic.twitter.com/QcieQBAoeD
— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) September 13, 2022
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