Immediately following the tragedy on 12/14, the Sandy Hook School Support Fund (SHSSF) was created by United Way of Western CT (UWWC) and the Newtown Savings Bank (NSB). The Fund was established to receive primarily undesignated financial donations, with the intent that the money raised would support children and families impacted by the tragedy, first responders, teachers, and the Newtown community in both the short and long-term. No fees or expenses have ever been taken for the administration of the SHSSF by the United Way or the Newtown Savings Bank.
The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, Inc. was formed in late February 2013 at the request of the UWWC and the NSB to receive the Sandy Hook School Support Fund (SHSS) dollars and develop a locally controlled and separate organization to be responsible for how the monies ultimately would be distributed. A Transition Team of community members created the organizational documents for the Foundation after consulting with national experts and conducting research on what other communities faced following mass tragedies. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. At this time, the Sandy Hook School Support Fund is the only fund under the Foundation’s authority. Other funds may come under the Foundations’ umbrella over time.
Mission & Structure
The mission of the Foundation is to devote itself to furthering and supporting operations and activities which address the short-term and long-term unmet needs of individuals and the Newtown community arising from the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
The Foundation kept three important lessons learned from other mass tragedies in mind when developing its structure and mission. This included reserving funds for long-term, unforeseen needs, keeping local control over the distributions, and infusing the process with public input.
Distribution committees are used to make disbursement recommendations to the Board of Directors of the Foundation. The first distribution committee was allocated $7.7 million to distribute to those most directly impacted by the tragedy. The remaining funds, $4.46 million as of December 31, 2013, will be used to support both the short and long term unmet needs of the community as it relates to the tragedy. A second distribution committee was named in November 2013 and is responsible for soliciting public input as to the unmet needs that exist, prioritizing needs, and making recommendations for distribution. This committee is made up of eleven Sandy Hook/Newtown residents who represent perspectives from many different impacted groups including victims, surviving children, teachers, first responders, as well as members of the community at large and a representative from the faith community.
The intention of the Foundation is to keep the Sandy Hook School Support Fund viable as a resource to the community until the children from SHES are through high school and to work in collaboration with other organizations and funds to avoid duplication and fill gaps in funding and services.