Here’s how Highland Park parade shooting victims, relatives can apply for benefits
Applications for grants from the Highland Park Community Foundation to families of those killed, wounded victims and nonprofits helping the community cope with the tragedy are due by Sept. 7.
The Highland Park Community Foundation will provide grants to victims of the July 4 parade massacre or their families and also give money to nonprofit organizations helping others who suffered, with a Sept. 7 deadline to file claims.
The foundation — which marks its 30th anniversary this year — is well known in the area for its local charitable giving. With the blessings of the city of Highland Park, it created a July 4th Highland Park Shooting Response Fund immediately after the attack. Money raised through fundraisers, the sale of items such as T-shirts and signs, and individual donations has been steered to this fund.
The foundation created a nine-member committee — Together Highland Park Unidos — to manage the fund and figure out a process for distributing money.
A gunman shooting from a rooftop above a store along the Central Avenue parade route killed seven people and wounded 48 more — and traumatized scores more in Highland Park, Highwood and neighboring suburbs. The suspected killer is being held without bond in a Lake County jail in Waukegan.
The committee held meetings this month at the Highwood Public Library and the Highland Park Public Library to get input from families of the deceased, wounded victims and others.
The fund will be used to assist:
- The families of the people who were killed.
- People physically injured who were hospitalized.
- People hurt who were treated on an outpatient basis.
- Nonprofit organizations “serving the needs of victims and the community” following the attack.
The foundation anticipates that families of deceased victims and people who “suffered permanent catastrophic physical injuries such as severe brain damage, amputation of limbs or severe paralysis” will all receive the same payment.
For people injured and hospitalized within 10 days of the shooting for one or more nights, “the payment is to be based on the number of days” in the hospital, the guidelines state.
People injured and treated without a hospital stay, who form a different category from those eligible for benefits, will “receive the same payment, regardless of injury.”
Funding for nonprofit organizations will be based on “the increase in and type of client services these organizations are providing to victims and the community as a result of the shooting” for efforts not reimbursed by federal, state or local governments.
The foundation has not yet released the amount of money donated so far. The fund will continue to accept donations through the first week of October.
A spokesperson for the foundation told the Sun-Times that the majority of the funds are expected to go to victims, although the percentages allocated to each category has not yet been determined. While the families of the dead and 48 wounded — who were named in the indictment of the suspected gunman — are the main focus of the benefits, others who were hospitalized within 10 days of the shooting or treated at a medical facility during that time period may also apply, the spokesperson said.
The committee appointed Bruce Boyd and Eric Kessler, both principals at Arabella Advisors, to administer the fund. Committee members include Betsy Brint, chair of the Highland Park Community Foundation, and Terri Olian, the executive director of the group. The committee will approve the “final allocation of funds” for each category, officials said.