Terri Olian, Executive Director
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill., July 27, 2022: The mass shooting on July 4, 2022, and the tragic loss of life and many injuries prompted an outpouring of financial support for victims. The Highland Park Community Foundation (HPCF) immediately established a July 4th Highland Park Shooting Response Fund to accept donations, and the City of Highland Park urged all those wishing to show their financial support to send donations to the Foundation, a longtime local organization deeply embedded in the community. Today, the HPCF announced the formation of a community committee – Together Highland Park Unidos – which will manage the donation distribution process for victims and local nonprofit organizations supporting victims and the broader community as a result of the shooting. The Committee, made up of local community leaders, is committed to an open, transparent, and expedient process to help victims of the July 4th mass shooting and the community as a whole.
Together Highland Park Unidos includes Foundation representatives and community members:
“As our community grieves this unthinkable tragedy, we have also come together with an outpouring of community support,” remarked Betsy Brint, Chairman of the HPCF. “The Foundation has established Together Highland Park Unidos to develop a transparent and open process through which 100% of the funds will be distributed primarily to victims, and secondarily to organizations that support victims and residents from Highland Park, Highwood, and other local communities, stemming from the shooting. We are grateful to the community leaders who have volunteered to assist with this important work.”
“We appreciate the Highland Park Community Foundation’s partnership to accept donations intended to help victims of the mass shooting,” said Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering. “The Highland Park Community Foundation has proven itself to be a trusted local resource which has been a valued partner and effective administrator of grant-making funds. We know they will distribute the funds in a fair, transparent, and straightforward process that will focus on helping victims, their families, and our community.”
The Committee’s primary goals for the process of administering the Fund include:
The Committee has committed to using best practices and has sought the assistance of nationally recognized experts in the administration of similar victim funds, local community and nonprofit leaders, as well as the City of Highland Park, and receives pro bono legal counsel from the firm Latham & Watkins. Through this support, The HPCF and Committee are able to commit that 100% of the donated funds will be distributed and none of the donations received will be used for administrative or similar expenses.
Based on these discussions, the following timeline has been established. Today, the Committee published, in English and Spanish, a Draft Protocol for claims. Using best practices as a guide, Together Highland Park Unidos has proposed a Protocol that sets forth the process the Committee will follow for allocating funds, the planned appointment of independent Co-Administrators to process claims and make payments, and other procedural matters. In the following days, meetings with victims and their families will be held to review the Draft Protocol and the public will have an opportunity to provide written comment. The meetings will be offered in English and Spanish.
Mid-August: The Committee plans to publish its Final Protocol, incorporating feedback from the victims, their families, and the public. Claim forms will be published in English and Spanish, and assistance will be available for anyone who needs help completing them.
Claim forms will need to be submitted by September 7. Victims and their families will then have the opportunity to meet with the Fund AAdministrator about their claim. The Committee anticipates all victim funds will be distributed in October. When the Fund closes, a third-party audit will be conducted and made public.
A dedicated public website will be created to provide information, access to claims forms, and collect additional donations.