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Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund announces steering committee for distribution of funds

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund announced Monday the members of the Local Steering Committee, who will be responsible for setting eligibility and distribution policies collected by the fund, benefitting those affected by the May 14 white supremacist mass shooting at Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Avenue.

The committee published a set of draft protocols Monday, which govern who is eligible to receive funds and how the funds will be distributed to assist survivors of the attack.

Five categories of eligibility have been proposed:

  • Families of those who were killed
  • Those who were injured by gunfire
  • Those who suffered some other type of physical injury arising from the event
  • Those who were present and suffered psychological trauma
  • Employees of the Jefferson Avenue store not present at the time of the shooting

“We are committed to a fair and transparent process where everyone has a voice,” said committee co-chair Rev. Mark Blue. “We want to hear from survivors, donors, advocates and the community at large so we can make an informed decision about the distribution to all of these families.”

The Local Steering Committee is made up of community leaders, local business leaders, neighborhood residents, Tops representatives, a survivor of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and more. Members include:

  • Rev. Mark Blue co-chair — President, Buffalo NAACP
  • Paul Vukelic co-chair — Chair, Buffalo Niagara Partnership
  • Thomas Beauford — President & CEO, Buffalo Urban League
  • Mike Cummings — Vice Chair, Community Affairs & Outreach (Psychiatry Department), UB
  • Jon Dandes — Corporate Vice President, Rich Products
  • Justine David — Public Relations Specialist, Mower Agency
  • Andy Davis — COO, ECMC
  • Peter DeJesus — President, WNY Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
  • Pastor Larry Donalson — Pastor, Greater Works Christian Fellowship
  • Tim Hogues — Neighborhood Resident
  • Cedric Holloway — Director, Johnnie B Wiley Sports Pavilion
  • Willie Hutch — Neighborhood Resident
  • Kimberly Johnson — Neighborhood Resident
  • Mark Manna — Western Area Director, UFCW Local One
  • Lindsay M. McKenna, Esq. — Bond, Schoeneck & King
  • Tiara Parker — Pulse Survivor
  • Pastor Kinzer Pointer — Pastor, Agape Fellowship Baptist Church
  • Kim Rapp — Victim Advocate
  • Daphne Ross — Sr. Director, Say Yes to Education (grew up in the neighborhood)
  • Judge Rose Sconiers — Incoming Chair, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
  • Patty Thomas — Board, Thurman Thomas Foundation
  • Thurman Thomas — Board, Thurman Thomas Foundation
  • Chantele Thompson — Chief Diversity Officer, Mayor Byron Brown’s Office
  • Francisco Vasquez — Former CEO, Child and Family Services of Buffalo
  • Brad Watts — Community Relations Manager, People Inc.
  • Samantha White, Esq. — Legal Aid of Buffalo
  • Mike Biehler, Esq. — Tops Friendly Markets
  • Diane Colgan — Tops Friendly Markets

For updates and information regarding the fund, register on the Town Hall form on the National Compassion Fund’s website at this link. The National Compassion Fund is a nonprofit dedicated to coordinating donations to victims of mass-casualty crimes.

The Town Hall will be conducted on July 21 at 6 p.m. at City Honors school, where leaders will explain the draft protocol and the application submission process, as well as open the floor to comments from potential applicants. Public comments can also be submitted via email to [email protected] by July 20.

“These donations could never make the survivors whole,” co-chair Paul Vukelic said. “But will hopefully provide the recipients with some comfort knowing that there are many people who wanted to give something to help them in whatever way is possible.”

Adam Duke is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of his work here.

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