Town’s 12/14 Fund Swells, Foundation Poised To Staff Distribution Panel

While there was no direct discussion on the subject during a March 12 Board of Finance meeting, Town Finance Director Robert Tait circulated documentation showing a municipal special revenue fund established in the wake of the 12/14 tragedy increased by about $80,000 in the past five weeks.

Mr Tait’s update also showed a school district private purpose fund designated for scholarships and other district needs increased by about $5,000 since February 6. Based on the finance director’s report, the special revenue fund is still anticipating receiving $150,000 from a Sandy Hook memorial initiative and $50,000 from Danbury-based Praxair to underwrite the cost of a mental health professional for the community who will coordinate services through the local Health District.

During that meeting, the district also circulated a document updated on March 5 showing that cash and in-kind donations made directly to the district totaled $405,903. The bulk of that fund, $397,000, was utilized outfitting the Chalk Hill School for Sandy Hook School students who transitioned to that facility in January.

At the three-month point since the Sandy Hook shootings occurred, Selectman Will Rodgers told The Newtown Bee that directors of a foundation overseeing more than $9 million in a fund established by the Newtown Savings Bank and United Way of Western Connecticut are about to begin organizing distribution committees.

Mr Rodgers said the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation plans to staff any distribution panels with a majority of volunteers representing various affected groups, including immediate victims’ families, first responders and school staff. He said the balance of distribution volunteers would be qualified from among a significant number of others tendering their availability to serve.

Distribution committees would also be informed by input from the Newtown community at large, he added. Based on organizational guidelines, the foundation, which includes former US Senator Joe Lieberman as an advisor, is obliged to accept recommendations from volunteers on distribution committees.

A formal plan on how the foundation will move forward with distribution panel plans is expected from The United Way in the next few days, Mr Rodgers said.

In the meantime, the town, under the leadership of Selectman James Gaston, continues to add to a growing list of outside funds and fundraising efforts in the wake of the 12/14 tragedy. 

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