Colorado shoot­ing vic­tims’ fund crit­i­cized

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

The friends and fam­i­lies of the vic­tims in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shoot­ing have gone pub­lic with their dis­plea­sure in how the Community First Foun­da­tion is dis­tribut­ing do­na­tions from a re­lief fund.

Founded in 1977 as the Lutheran Med­i­cal Cen­ter Foun­da­tion, the char­i­ta­ble group ini­tially served as the fundrais­ing arm for the hospi­tal in the Den­ver sub­urb of Wheat Ridge and is now one of the spon­sors of the hospi­tal’s par­ent sys­tem, Den­ver-based Ex­em­pla Health­care.

Community First CEO Marla Wil­liams told Out­liers the char­ity will meet with vic­tims’ fam­i­lies to lis­ten to their rec­om­men­da­tions. She said part of the prob­lem was mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Community First lacks a com­plete list of vic­tims thanks to a court-im­posed gag or­der, she said. A more com­plete list was only re­cently made avail­able.

Colorado Gov. John Hick­en­looper chose Community First to over­see the Aurora Vic­tims Re­lief Fund, which has brought in more than $5 mil­lion in do­na­tions since the July 20 shoot­ing, when a gun­man killed 12 and wounded 58.

Fam­ily and friends rep­re­sent­ing the vic­tims staged a news con­fer­ence last week al­leg­ing Community First did not prop­erly dis­trib­ute do­na­tions. They claimed Community First did not con­sult with them, the money wasn’t given to causes to ben­e­fit the vic­tims and the char­ity mis­led donors. The group also wants to have a say in where the money lands.

The gover­nor’s of­fice has since said Hick­en­looper will soon ad­dress those con­cerns, and told the Den­ver Post he was “heart­sick” over the fam­i­lies’ con­cerns. He vowed that his of­fice would take a more ac­tive role.

Ex­em­pla Health­care doesn’t have any gov­er­nance over Community, an Ex­em­pla spokes­woman said, and hasn’t been in­volved in any of the fundrais­ing ef­forts, she said.

Wil­liams added that Community First ap­points five mem­bers of the 10-mem­ber Ex­em­pla board. Sis­ters of Char­ity of Leav­en­worth Health Sys­tem, Ex­em­pla’s par­ent, ap­points the re­main­ing five mem­bers.

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