Money starts flowing to families in Uvalde, but questions persist


A national fund is distributing millions, but a state fund has been criticized.

ByKiara AlfonsecaSoo Rin Kim, and Hannah Prince
November 25, 2022, 5:00 PM

Last week, nearly six months after the mass shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, the Uvalde Together We Rise Fund began distributing more than $22 million directly to survivors, families and others affected by the tragedy.

The nonprofit National Compassion Fund, which has distributed donations in more than 50 other similar circumstances — most recently following the mass shooting that killed 10 people and injured three others in Buffalo, New York — did the difficult work of pooling resources from more than 13,000 donors, including local charities, online fundraisers and individuals, and determining who deserves money and how much.

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“Donors say, ‘I don’t want to pick and choose,'” Jeffrey Dion, executive director of the National Compassion Fund, which manages the largest pool of Uvalde donations from public and private donors across the country, told ABC News. “‘Why should I help this family and not that family?’ Or ‘I don’t know all the families,’ or ‘Other families don’t have their own GoFundMe. But if I get this, I know I can help everybody.'”

The National Compassion Fund is a partnership between the National Center for Victims of Crime and the survivors and families of others mass shootings — including Columbine, 9/11 and Sandy Hook. The group provides administration, accountability and transparency for money raised in the wake of such tragedies.

Five tiers

The Uvalde Together We Rise Fund began disbursements to its 448 eligible applicants on Nov. 15, the culmination of a months-long process that included two public hearings and multiple closed-door meetings led by a steering committee of 10 community members.