Orlando officials announced Friday that $7 million the city has collected since the Pulse nightclub shooting will be given directly to victims and their families instead of being distributed through charities, The New York Times reports. The city has created a board headed by Alex Martins, chief executive of the Orlando Magic basketball team, to determine how to distribute the donations.
Mayor Buddy Dyer said Orlando officials will also check with donors to the city's OneOrlando Fund — most of which were corporations — to ensure that they are comfortable with how the city doles out the money. “The most important thing is to do it right, do it transparently and make sure our funders are comfortable with how we are doing this,” he said, noting that many victims need immediate help with expenses like rent and groceries.
The move comes after advocacy group the National Center for Victims of Crime criticzed Orlando's plan to disburse donated funds through charities, saying too little of money distributed that way following past tragedies made its way to victims and families. Experts say that view is becoming more widespread. Still, traditional nonprofits have raised millions to assist Orlando victims, notably LGBT-rights orgnaization Equality Florida, which has collected roughly $5.6 million through crowdfunding website GoFundMe.