About the Foundation
Immediately following the tragedy on December 14, 2012, the Sandy Hook School Support Fund (SHSSF) was created by United Way of Western CT (UWWC) and the Newtown Savings Bank (NSB). The Fund was established to receive primarily undesignated financial donations, with the intent that the money raised would support children and families impacted by the tragedy, first responders, teachers, and the Newtown community in both the short and long-term.
The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, Inc. was formed in late February 2013 at the request of the UWWC & NSB to receive the Sandy Hook School Support Fund (SHSSF) dollars and develop a locally controlled and separate organization to be responsible for how donations would be distributed. A Transition Team of community members created the organizational documents for the Foundation after consulting with national experts and conducting research on what other communities faced following mass tragedies. The Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.
The NSHCF is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors (Board), all of whom are Newtown residents. In the spring of 2013, the Board appointed a Distribution Committee (DC) to make recommendations for the distribution of $7.7 million to 40 families deemed to be those most closely affected by the tragic school shooting. Immediately after the initial distribution in August 2013, the Board hired an Executive Director (ED) to manage the NSHCF, including all financials, community engagement, distribution of funds, and responsibilities of the 501(c)(3). The ED was responsible for the development of a second DC, formed in November 2013, to recommend distributions over time of the remaining $5M+ in donations. For more information, click here.
Initially the Foundation did not have a fixed “sunset” date; indeed concerns voices by other disaster communities to reserve funds to address late arising issues such as PTSD influenced early actions. However, the board came to recognize that for both reasons of assuring the affected communities that there would be no permanent “bureaucracy” created, and to provide a date by which the community would strive to be able to cope with issues without the assistance of the Foundation, there was value to the recovery process in establishing a sunset date. Accordingly, in January 2015 the Board of Directors voted on a sunset plan that was based in part on the high school graduation of the youngest class of children enrolled at Sandy Hook School on 12/14/12. The Foundation will continue to spend down the resources of the Sandy Hook School Support Fund and close on or by December 31, 2025.
We believe for continued recovery to occur the community needs to remain committed to building strong connections at every level. Resilience is created through secure and stable environments at home and in the community. In order for this to happen, there must be on-going opportunities for connection and engagement, efficient coordination of resources at the system level, collection and interpretation of data to inform the support decision making, empathic communication that is clear and consistent, and accepted of the different ways in which people continue to recover without judgement.
In the remaining years of the Foundation, the Executive Director, Board of Directors, and Distribution Committee will continue to monitor, assess, and meet the needs of those impacted by the tragedy as they continue to evolve. A gradual decrease in allocations annually from the Sandy Hook School Support Fund will continue to fulfill the greatest needs that exist at the time while working to build capacity in the Newtown community to be responsive to longer term issues that outlive the Foundation.