The Newtown Lions Foundation Sandy Hook Elementary Fund
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Collaborative Recovery Fund partners issue update
on charitable response to the Sandy Hook tragedy
Groups have been covering enormous mental health costs for those affected by the 12/14 tragedy
NEWTOWN, CT. – July 3, 2014 – In light of the recent report from the CT Attorney General’s Office regarding the charitable response to the December 2012 tragedy a group of charitable funds would like to update the community on their efforts and offer insight into the realities facing the Newtown Community in the months and years to come. The group includes the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, Inc. (NSHCF), Newtown Lions Club Foundation, Newtown Memorial Fund, Newtown Rotary Club and United Way of Western CT.
Shortly after the tragedy the Newtown Rotary Sandy Hook School Fund partnered with the United Way and the CT Office of Victim Services to assist with out of pocket mental health and other financial costs for those impacted. In October 2013 the effort transitioned to cover reimbursement of mental health expenses only and the Newtown Memorial Fund joined the effort at that time, pooling their funds dedicated for mental health costs with the other two groups to maximize efficiencies. More recently the Lions Club and the NSHCF joined this collaborative effort with NSHCF recently assuming responsibility of the payout of the funds to service providers on behalf of the over 400 individuals who are being assisted by the funds. Prior to joining the partnership the Lions Club made direct payments to providers on their own.. “We are happy that the NSHCF is now in a position where we are able to assume the payout process from the United Way and streamline payouts from the participating funds” stated Jennifer Barahona, Executive Director of NSHCF. The United Way recently provided a grant to the NHSCF to help offset overhead costs associated with managing the process. “Receiving grant dollars is important so that the Foundation can continue to operate without the need to use any of the donated funds for that purpose”, said Barahona.
The Foundation pays providers directly using pooled resources from all the partners in what is now called the ‘Collaborative Recovery Fund’. In May of this year alone the fund paid over $90,000 in out of pocket mental health costs for individuals. “If the current rate of spending holds, the Rotary funds will be depleted in a matter of months” states Alan Clavette, board member of the Newtown Rotary. The group argues that looking at data in the Attorney General’s report that in many cases is over 9 months old does not accurately reflect the amount of money remaining in the community. “The inflow of new contributions is slow at best but the output is enormous”, states Clavette.
“One of our biggest concerns is the illusion that Newtown has more money than we need when in fact the opposite is true” states Peter McNulty, President of the Lions Club. “The Lions originally estimated having enough funds to last 10 years and the $344,000 we raised was completely depleted by May of this year”. The Lions, along with some of the other groups, are continuing to raise funds to support the mental health needs being addressed by the Collaborative Recovery Fund.
The group of funders is currently examining ways to preserve the dollars for the longest time possible. Brian Mauriello, founder of the Newtown Memorial Fund, states that central to his organization’s mission and purpose is to provide for the mental and medical health needs of those directly affected, to support the community’s resiliency efforts, provide assistance in the expense/maintenance of suitable tributes/memorials, and establish an endowment for post-secondary scholarships for those identified in its criteria as eligible. “Establishing a suitable spend rate based on need while keeping in mind the time horizon of that need has challenged us to look very carefully at the most successful venues for raising additional funds in a sustainable way”.With all the funds focusing on the mental health recovery, the group is anxious to help the community better understand the challenges faced in sustaining the support. One thing that many people don’t understand is the out of pocket costs for mental health. Recent changes in health care have had a huge impact on the out of pocket costs for families. “We are no longer talking about a $20 co-pay for a session of therapy”, states Dr. Charles Herrick, psychiatrist and Chair of the NSHCF. “Families have very high deductibles and many providers are not accepting health insurance because of low reimbursement rates and the red tape required to get those reimbursements”. The funds have not wanted families to have to make the choice between paying household bills or seeking necessary mental health treatment. “The group is looking at reasonable and customary fees for mental health treatment and may need to move to putting caps on payments if we want these resources to be available for impacted children and adults in the years to come”, states Herrick.
April 1, 2014 --Newtown Lions Club and Sigma Chi announce second
annual FORE Sandy Hook Golf Classic
The Newtown Lions Club and Western Connecticut State University’s Sigma Chi Alumni Association announce the second annual FORE Sandy Hook Golf Classic. The event will be held on Monday, June 30, 2014, at Richter Park, in Danbury, Connecticut. Registration and lunch will begin at noon; tee time will be at 1:30.
The golf tournament will benefit SHEF (Sandy Hook Elementary Fund), which continues to fund counseling to the children, families, staff, and first responders of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. The need continues to be great for this program which reached a high of over 250 people with a cost exceeding $40,000 in February 2014 alone.
Various gifts and prizes will be awarded at the Classic. All participants will receive golf balls, divot repair tools, and hats. Prizes will be awarded for the longest drive, closest to pin, and for first-, second-, and third-place finishers.
All Classic participants and attendees may participate in an auction whose items include a UCONN Women’s Basketball autographed by all current team players; four tickets to a New York Jets game of the winner’s choice, including a one-day parking pass; and footballs autographed by Joe Namath, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, and Phil Simms.
Autographed baseball items to be auctioned will include a Boston Red Sox jersey signed by Clay Buchholz and a baseball signed by Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester.
Golfers looking for future outings may wish to bid on foursomes at Richter Park, Ridgewood Country Club, and Rock Ridge Country Club.
Many other items will be auctioned, among them: autographed Seattle Seahawks photos of Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch and a Camper Scholarship to the Joe Namath Football Camp in July.
We have invested over $350,000 in counseling to date and the need is ongoing. Please support this worthy effort and become a FORE Sandy Hook Sponsor or just come play with us. It promises to be a great day.
March 1st 2014--Newtown Lions Club Foundation joins forces in a partnership with Newtown Rotary Club, Newtown Memorial Fund, and United Way of Western Connecticut
The Newtown Lions Club Foundation established The Sandy Hook Elementary Fund (SHEF) to benefit the families, staff, and first responders of the School in the wake of the tragic events of December 14, 2012. The fund was primarily established for underwriting the financial costs of mental health care counseling for those affected with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and related issues. Our original plan estimated that we would need to serve about 100 individuals for approximately 10 years. During the past 14 months we have provided benefits to over 250 individuals and expended over $350,000. “Over recent months the demand for financial support has exceeded $30,000 per month and has become overwhelming. It is now exceeding our Club’s ability to continue without assistance”, said Peter McNulty President of the Newtown Lions Club. As a result we have sought other means to continue to provide this much needed to support in our community.
In February of 2013, a partnership was formed between the Newtown Rotary Club, the Office of Victim Services (OVS), and the United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC) to provide an Immediate Needs Fund for financial assistance for Mental Health Care and other needs of the impacted families in the Newtown community. In October the Newtown Memorial Fund also joined this partnership. Over the 13 months of existence this fund provided over $660,000 to more than 150 families”, said Kim Morgan, CEO of UWWC. Bob Schmidt, Chairman of SHEF of the Newtown Lions Club said, “Because their objectives were similar to the Newtown Lions Club Foundation, we approached these organizations to see if the partnership could be enlarged to include the Newtown Lions Club Foundation. The group has now come to an agreement to join efforts in a focused partnership to provide ongoing financial aid for Mental Health Care for the effected individuals in the foreseeable future.
As of February 28, 2014 the Newtown Lions Club Foundation SHEF no longer directly administers benefits to providers and individuals. The Office of Victim Services (OVS) in Hartford has agreed to continue to act as the point of contact for all eligible individuals (860-990-1984 or toll free 888-286-7347). New claims from providers and individuals should be routed to OVS for processing. While the UWWC no longer provides financial assistance to the Immediate Needs Fund they have agreed to continue their Pro Bono administrative services in the disbursement of funds for the partnership.
By joining forces we bring all the organizations’ strengths together to provide financial support in the most efficient way. The Immediate Needs Fund will continue to provide help to over 400 individuals that require assistance. “With the help of OVS and the work UWWC is doing in combination with the volunteer financial resources provided by The Newtown Rotary Club, The Newtown Memorial Fund, and the Newtown Lions Club Foundation, our hope as a group, is that we will be stronger together in locating sufficient private and public financial resources to maintain the current level of support”, said Peter McNulty, President of the Newtown Lions Club.
Because the partnership is entirely financed through private donations, The Newtown Lions Club Foundation’s SHEF will continue with fund raising efforts to benefit those affected by the Sandy Hook
tragedy. These efforts include a Golf Tournament called “FORE Sandy Hook” and currently planned for June 30, 2014. We will also continue other fund raising efforts including submissions of grant applications to private philanthropic organizations. For more information please see the Newtown Lions Club website at http://www.newtownlions.org/ and click the SHEF tab.
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