Funders do have a role within their community if they wish to support response to a mass shooting. They can manage one or more funds for victims or first responders, support trauma-informed and supportive services, advocate around gun control and engage in community education.

  • Host a fund for victims. Many people want to make donations after a tragedy but do not know where to give. Often, individual funds are started on platforms such as GoFundMe. Still, a coordinated fund through a local or community foundation can help ensure an equitable and fair process for fund distribution. Depending upon the tragedy, there may be a need to support a fund for first responders who witness the violence or aftermath.
  • Fund mental health and trauma services. A mass shooting in a community can affect more than just those in attendance at the school, the event or the location where the shooting occurred. The broader community can also be affected. Broad, wide-ranging mental health and trauma-informed services are often required for several years to help heal the community.
  • Support advocacy efforts for gun control. In the aftermath of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the families of those killed formed Sandy Hook Promise. This national nonprofit organization seeks “to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. By empowering youth to ‘know the signs’ and uniting all people who value the protection of children, we can take meaningful actions in schools, homes, and communities to prevent gun violence and stop the tragic loss of life.” Similarly, following the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, the teen victims and students created the #NeverAgain hashtag and began a social media and speaking advocacy campaign to prevent more school shootings. Everytown for Gun Safety has a number of research-based policy initiatives and solutions that can reduce gun violence, including mass shootings, domestic violence shootings, crime-based killings, accidental shootings and suicides.
  • Help build a collaboration of funders. After the shooting at the Pulse nightclub, several philanthropic serving organizations including, but not limited to, the United Philanthropy Forum, Funders for LGBTQ Issues, Change Philanthropy, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, Hispanics in Philanthropy, Native Americans in Philanthropy and Women’s Funding Network co-sponsored teleconferences to bring together national and regional funders and foundations that wanted to contribute to a response. By taking on the responsibility to organizing and host the events, these organizations allowed local funders affected by the shooting to focus on their community’s immediate needs. This funding and work should be directed towards supporting the larger community needs, not individual victims.
  • Contribute to the victims of crimes fund federally or to similar state/local funds. The spending cap is determined by the amount of revenue put into the fund. Donations can help ensure that victims receive full support after a mass shooting.

Read the full article about mass shootings at Center for Disaster Philanthropy.