Archive for July 27th, 2012
Unsurprisingly, in the wake of the Aurora shooting thousands of people have rallied round to support the victims of the movie theatre massacre.
Many small fundraising websites have appeared, too, to help with individuals’ medical and funeral expenses – notably one for 27-year-old Matt McQuinn, who died shielding his girlfriend from the bullets.
Probably the largest online response, however, has been from GivingFirst.org (part of the Community First Foundation), which has donated part of its website to non-profits including the Aurora Mental Health Center, the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance and the Bonfils Blood Center Foundation, which are all providing support to the victims. Donations received via the website will be match-funded from a new specially-created fund set up by the Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper.
And Warner Brothers, the studio responsible for the film The Dark Knight Rises (during the screening of which the shooting took place, leaving 12 dead and 58 wounded), has pledged to make a large donation to the victims, out of their substantial profits (reputed to be almost $161 million in just three days).
But regardless of the film’s success, this is an issue that will run and run. For the families and friends of the victims, the night of 20 July 2012 will forever be etched into their memories. It’s good, though, to see that even events such as this have a compassionate flip-side. Aurora will be remembered, too, for the wave of philanthropy it prompted.
On Monday I reported on the Australian scheme Kids in Philanthropy. Today I felt I should mention a similar venture here in the UK. Launched 5 years ago the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative is a schools-based programme that seeks to provide young people with real-life experiences of charitable giving, in order to create “the next generation of passionate and committed philanthropists”. Just like us, at the Chreda Foundation, they want to “inspire teenagers to engage positively with their local community”. They do this by getting pupils to work as a team to identify a specific social issue: the team then chooses an appropriate local charity that they feel can address it. They compete with other teams for a £3,000 prize (to donate to their chosen charity), by interviewing the various parties involved (both charity workers and potential beneficiaries), then presenting their case in front of a judging panel, ‘Dragon’s Den’ style. Around 40,000 young people have participated in the scheme, to date, distributing a total of £1 million to charity. Earlier this year the Social Action Fund injected more than £300,000 into the formerly London-based initiative, which will now be able to expand into the Midlands and the North-West of England.