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Victim-Aid Overhaul Pushed: Nonprofit Offers To Set Up National Fund to Cut Red Tape And Ease Families' Pain

Publication Date: 
May 16, 2013
The Wall Street Journal
Joseph De Avila

Professor Michele Landis Dauber spoke with The Wall Street Journal's Joseph De Avila about a new effort to create a single donation fund for victims of future mass attacks and why historically efforts of this sort have been "very difficult to fill withuot political problems."

A push to create a single donation fund to benefit victims of future mass attacks in the U.S. is gaining momentum: A Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit is offering to establish a "National Compassion Fund" that would begin to solicit money within a day of violent events such as the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., and the Boston bombings.

It is a step forward for an idea that families connected to some of the nation's worst massacres began advocating in March. A group of 70 relatives of shooting victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Columbine High School, Virginia Tech and others launched the effort after sharing tales of what they say is an agonizing process of dealing with ad hoc funds that crop up after such tragedies.


Michele Landis Dauber, a law professor at Stanford University who studies disaster-relief programs, said such a large undertaking could leave the group open to criticism depending on how it performs. "This kind of a role has been historically very difficult to fill without political problems," she said.