First public commentary meeting held to decide how to split up donations after MSD shooting

About $7.5 million donated so far to victims, victims' families


PARKLAND, Fla. – A fund for the victims and victims' families of the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre has reached about $7.5 million, and that money will be distributed beginning in July.

A committee responsible for handing out the money got feedback Tuesday from people in the community on how to split it up.

"What happened on Feb. 14 was the most tragic event that has ever happened in our community," committee Chair Georgie LeMieux said.

The meeting Tuesday was the committee's first public comment session following the mass shooting.

"One hundred percent of the money that's collected is distributed to the victims," Jeffrey Dion, of the National Center for Victims of Crime, said. 

According to the committee, there are three categories of people eligible to apply for a portion of the donations. 

The first are the families of those who were killed. The second are people who were injured in the attack, and the third are MSD students who have been experiencing psychological trauma since the shooting. 

"I'd walk in, I'd walk past that building and think about my close friends in that building suffering -- and I try to make it through the day, try to make it through my classes, but I can't focus on anything," Ambria Smith, who transferred out of MSD after the attack, said. 

People in the community got the opportunity to weigh in on the drafted proposal. 

Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina was one of the victims killed, stood up to speak for a group of several other victims' families with whom he had been sitting with, saying they wish the committee had reached out sooner.

"Seventeen people -- children and teachers -- were taken from us that day, and I understand you're the National Compassion Fund and you've done this before, but none of us have. We're struggling every day through it," he said. 

The meeting ended at 2:30 p.m., and a second one will be held in the arena at Nova Southeastern University at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Donations to the fund will still be taken through June. 

Click here for more information about how to donate to the fund or how to apply to receive money from it. 


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