The group, Victims First, was born out of the Aurora Theater Shooting. Now, they’re trying to improve the way victims and survivors get help in the aftermath.
DENVER — A group of victims and their families have rebranded their victims’ assistance fund, now calling it specifically the “National Mass Shooting Victims’ Fund.”
The group, VictimsFirst, has long criticized nonprofits who raise funds following mass tragedy. It was founded after the Aurora theater shooting by Anita Busch, a cousin of Micayla Medek who died in that shooting.
“None of us get paid, we don’t take administrative fees out,” Busch said in an interview Tuesday. “We honor donor intent to give 100% to victims because we know after a mass shooting that’s what people are giving for they’re giving to the victims or they think they are.”
VictimsFirst has used the fund for years, but decided to rename it to specifically address mass shootings as those tragedies become more common.
“It’s shocking the amount,” Busch said. “At times, we can barely keep up. Just to keep helping – but we promised to be there and keep helping as long as people need help.”
Busch said the fund will provide direct financial assistance directly to any victim of a mass shooting any time they need it. Donors can indicate if they want to support victims of a specific tragedy or just donate to the fund in general.
Dr. Zachary Blair, VictimsFirst’s vice president, said the group has already used the fund to help support victims of the Club Q tragedy.
“The fund is set up, so it’s like a pool basically, and we take money from that amount and donate it directly, distribute it directly to victims as they need it,” he said.
“For Club Q victims, it’s been rental assistance, we’ve helped for accessibility needs, we’ve helped rip out a carpet and install hard flooring, so they could use a walker in their apartment. We’ve helped with food, utilities, any kind of need that’s a basic living need. Nothing extravagant, just basic human needs.”
Anyone applying to use the fund has to provide some proof that they’ve been a victim of a mass tragedy. That could include contact information for a victim advocate or official government documents that prove they’ve been involved.
The fund considers someone a victim if they lose a family member, if they were shot or injured or if they were present during a tragedy but not injured.
You can donate or request funds here.
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