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Finance Officials Establish Funds for Sandy Hook Donations

Newtown Finance Director Robert Tait announced destinations for the donations included in thousands of letters from around the world Thursday.

 

Volunteers have opened more than 125,000 of pieces of mail sent to Newtown by well-wishers across the world, and at Thursday night's Board of Finance meeting, officials approved funds that will distribute donations according to supporter's wishes -- whatever they may be.

"We got checks written out to everything in the world," said finance director Robert Tait. "We read the letters, we highlighted what they wanted."

Based on wishes expressed in the letters, volunteers working for days at Newtown Municipal Center assigned donations to Sandy Hook School, to police and first responders, to families of victims and a myriad of other destinations, said Tait.

The finance board voted Thursday to set up a public and private fund to distribute the approximately $256,000 in donations the town has received since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14. A newly established special revenue fund, totaling more than $176,000, will benefit local departments -- police, playgrounds and parks, first responders and fire departments -- and includes funds for schools, which will be sent for approval to the Board of Education.

"It's a small amount [compared to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund], but it represented a lot of work," said Tait. Local volunteers put in hours of work over the course of days, working alongside U.S. Postal Service volunteers at times.

"My wife was down there a couple times helping," said Finance Board chair John Kortze before voting to approve the funds. "She came home, walked right by me, and said, 'You would not believe what's going on down there.'"

How Donations Broke Down

While funds are still coming in, the finance director's initial report provides an impression of where donors wanted to see their money go.

More than $98,000 -- well over half of the special revenue fund -- was sent to the town of Newtown itself. These funds were placed in an undesignated category.

Police received about $15,000 in donations, first responders about $11,000, and another $11,000 went to playgrounds. Donations to Newtown School District, Sandy Hook School in particular, and children -- funds that will be handled by the Board of Education -- totaled $8,855.

Another trust fund will go directly to families of victims. On Thursday night, the board approved an appropriation giving victims' families a total of more than $78,000, sending the request to the Legislative Council.

The trust would be split between the 26 families, plus the two people wounded in the shooting. In addition, the trust will put $1,000 toward a scholarship fund. While all donations will be distributed in time, Tait said, the private purpose fund was a key priority. 

"We want to get this to [the families] as soon as we can," he said.

Steve Bowers January 25, 2013 at 07:50 PM
How about split a little for everyone else who was in the school that day
Richard Hooker January 25, 2013 at 11:10 PM
there were many, MANY more than 12 survivors. This whole thing is not about who gets what, it is about healing. This is absolutely NOT about money. ALL the money in the world will not bring back those 26.
A.P.W January 26, 2013 at 01:52 AM
No amount of money can bring back a loved one. It's almost an insult. I was able to tuck in my kindergartner on 12/14. The teachers in her classroom were amazing. They kept them all calm. A dear friend, was not as lucky. The staff of SHS deserves so much. They put their own feelings aside to protect our children. The staff needs support. They needs to know that we care and support them. They need to feel appreciated. God knows they don't feel appreciated when they get their paychecks. Our board of education appears to have little respect for our teachers. It took such a tragedy for the public to take notice of the caring, compassionate, and dedicated teachers we and our children have. Make sure those teachers feel that support, especially during budget talks and votes.
John Doe January 26, 2013 at 12:29 PM
Keep an eye on these people distributing $. Any student or employee of SHES is a victim along with 1st responders. They should receive the aid.
Country Mouse January 27, 2013 at 02:49 PM
I encourage you to Read the article more closely ... These were letters/monies specifically sent to the town address by various donors from around the world. The letters mentioned or specified where/who they personally wanted it to go to. The town is merely sharing the breakdown.

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