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Some good news -- new report today says charitable giving it up.
Or gave that is 316 billion dollars to charity last year up one and a half percent three quarters of that comes from individual donors folks like you and me.
Which is why we're going to continue our investigation of charities around the country making sure they get an honest accounting of that money.
For instance we've been keeping up the heat on united weight in Connecticut remember that.
-- -- fund raising over eleven million dollars for the families of the sandy -- school massacre in Newtown Connecticut six months ago.
But those families have not seen a penny of that money -- sitting in a bank account somewhere collecting interest.
Six months ago this happen.
Michelle Cruz was Connecticut's victim advocate at the time of the sandy -- shooting and she joins us now Michelle welcome to the program great to have you here.
I what went wrong why hasn't this money got the family it's.
Well first off thanks for having me.
You know part of the problem is is that.
There wasn't a lot of transparency in the beginning when this fund was created on united way came out and said that they're collecting funds for the families.
And you know the idea for all the community and the nation was that people are gonna give donations to these -- to this fund.
And of the money go directly to the families and down.
You know and then it seems that there's been several different approaches to how this money should be disbursed at one point it was.
Four million for the families who had a need then it went up to seven million I believe.
And the problem is that.
He's in every state crime victims have either statutory or constitutional or both -- rights and these families have -- even harmed.
The idea that it's me -- -- giving these donations was really to help these families and their time of me and it wasn't going to be based on and never was sad that was made based on need.
Or that these funds were going to go.
To the community or to services.
Was pretty much every time -- -- sense you've gone so far as to say that these families are being re injured.
Because of this long wait time.
Well I think -- angry injured on a number of ways one is.
Dealing with degrees and the horror of what happened on December 14 and said they're having to come forward to explain their need.
Making their objections to the different disbursement amounts and you know and spend their energy in this way that just this was never the intention of the donors.
-- and it's not the intention of the community to provide money for these families that was to help them in their grief and.
Well they're getting married I remember I don't fight very controversy -- united way has over eleven million dollars they say they're gonna get dole out sometime in the future they have explained when some.
-- point seven million dollars to families the remainder will stay with the united way to be doled out over time to the community.
Now you've been very critical of the governor's office.
In their involvement in this in this why.
Well first of -- when this first happened around within the first week as a victim have a kid I reached out to our national partners across the country.
-- we've had these tragedies before I -- to learn from them.
What they learned in these tragedies what obstacles that we should navigate around and where we should really be focusing our attention in the response to new -- every single person sad.
You got to come out front you've got to have an official -- You actually have to have to -- that be the best approach one for the victims and one for its community and services.
And you have to be transparent as to who's gonna qualify as a victim.
And for what types of injuries and make it clear to the community and you gotta get out front at that I made that recommendation to the governor -- unfortunately.
United way eventually I think of three or four weeks afterwards.
Was the official fun and it was actually put on all the state agency's web page and the girls that keep.
That is true and the -- and and and the governor's office did in fact.
-- basically endorse united way.
Here's what the governor had to say about this issue.
Today a link was posted on various web sites pointing to that fund is one option for donations -- problem was not collecting the money it was how long was distributed.
We -- the sandy hook school support fund and the united way.
To bring on an independent third party to handle distributions.
We continue to believe that the right course of action is one that moves quickly they get funds to those most affected.
By this tragedy.
And governor's office saying for days after the tragedy they went out publicly and said hey let's get an independent group to dole out this money.
What's wrong with that action.
Well the problem is that the money was provided to and went to the united way -- I'll give you let a a stark contrast after the bonds the Boston bombing.
There was the one -- And the -- -- was I believe within a few days of the Boston bombing -- one fund the money the disbursement is within six to eight weeks of the incident.
The money goes directly -- the families.
Then it the only purpose of the one fun they don't do service says they just that a pass through so the money for the big towns.
And right really -- and check it with one fun and -- are doling out fifty million dollars in about eight weeks.
Since the tragedy.
-- this was a situation where.
The governor the mayor all got involved and -- point the finger at the one -- said give -- that the money already out the door.
And the people in -- six months later still waiting.
Nothing -- seem to me it seems to me and I and you tell me what you think.
That united way has some serious questions to answer here.
Well I think then that that -- -- cracked I mean the prom with united way what he's -- is at the conflict it.
They have services they want to provide and have paid for that they're giving to the community to get mental health services and other services.
The one sign in contrast.
Only is a pass through.
And that's the proper place for this kind of finds and that's the same exact recommendation -- it made.
-- -- the governor's office and what Massachusetts did is they immediately had everybody flowing to the same front there was actually some issues you know.
With how many how many funds are there and Connecticut and it looked on the attorney general in the consumer.
Our protection had done a request for all funds there're over seventy fines bringing -- -- not only -- charities that actually got money.
In the wake of that tragedy and and I'll and I'll mention right here -- we're gonna talk about it just the second.
In charge in Ohio the united way they're being sued.
Because that they have distribute very little of the money that was supposed to go to families who -- caught up in another shooting there we'll talk about that just it just in a moment.
Michelle thanks for coming on the show appreciate your time and thanks for Iraq I think -- -- this or sent us an email thanks for responding.
-- thanks for having me.
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