Newtown Victims’ Fund Faces Thicket of Spending Choices

The foundation established to handle more than $10-million donated to help victims of December’s mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., faces numerous options—and potential hazards—in determining how to distribute the money, writes The News-Times of Danbury, Conn.

The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation was launched last month by local leaders and the United Way of Western Connecticut. It will have to make choices from among the proliferation of charities set up in the wake of the Dec. 14 massacre and weigh how much should go directly to victims’ families and how much to mental-health and first-responder organizations.

Such questions have dogged the distribution of charitable gifts in other communities that witnessed mass killings, such as Aurora, Colo., where relatives of victims of last year’s movie-theater shooting raised an outcry about the pace and size of aid disbursements.

“I’m sure everyone in Newtown is trying to do the right thing, but it becomes very emotional,” said Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington, D.C., attorney who mediated funding disputes at Aurora and other crisis sites. “I’ve always found in my work that you can’t expect everyone to be reasonable. This was a terrible trauma, and you have to expect an emotional response.”

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