The United Way of Western Connecticut and Newtown Savings Bank have raised more than $3.5 million for their Sandy Hook school fund to help those affected by the elementary school shooting.
The town of Newtown has formed a transition team that will manage the fund based on the town's needs.
According to a press release from the United Way, neither the UWWC nor the Newtown Savings Bank will take any percentage of the funds. The fund is designed to receive only general, undesignated contributions.
"Our reaction is nothing short of astounded and appreciative. We have received both calls and gifts from around the world. This tragedy has touched so many hearts in a way that you just can't predict," said Kim Morgan, CEO of United Way of Western Connecticut.
Selectman William Rodgers, an attorney who is part of the committee in charge of the UWWC fund, issued a statement confirming that neither outlet would receive any portion of the donations. He added that neither will determine how the money will be distributed.
Morgan said the fund may close in several months. UWWC will turn the money over to the entity Newtown creates.
First Selectwoman Patricia Llodra expressed her gratitude to those who have shown their support following the shooting.
Over the past few weeks people from around the globe came with flowers, teddy bears and crosses to pay tribute to the victims.
Now the question remains, what to do with those donations?
Llodra, the Board of Selectmen and the superintendent of schools decided to preserve the items and turn them into "sacred soil" as the foundation for a permanent memorial.
According to Llodra, no location has been determined for the memorial.
"Decisions for the memorial are a ways down the road. Until then we are working to prepare and preserve all the material, in order to make them ready for the memorial," she said.
"It was difficult to decide how to honor all the beautiful contributions," Llodra added.
According to Llodra the feedback from the town has been supportive of the decision to keep the donations.
The town has received many suggestions from residents about the future memorial, she said.
"We've received many beautiful, well thought out ideas and concepts that are relevant with our town's values. We will hold those ideas to the side until we can get together the right people who can help us build the memorial," Llodra said.
The town has a Cultural Arts Commission that will play a big part in anchoring the project.
"All I can say is thank you. We have truly been touched by those who have been so generous. We know we are not alone in this and that the public has wrapped their arms around us," she said.
Donations to the fund can be made online at newtown.uwwesternct.org, or mailed to:
Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street, Newtown CT, 06470
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