More than 60 family members of the Club Q, King Soopers and Sol Tribe mass shooting victims have asked state leaders to shut down the Colorado Healing Fund.
The goal is for the fund to pay for the immediate needs of family members of shooting victims.
But the fund does not follow its own protocol when it comes to distributing donations, according to an open letter some victims' family members sent to Gov. Jared Polis and Attorney General Phil Weiser, among other state leaders.
The letter makes three requests:
- Fully release all donations to the victims' families and survivors of the Sol Tribe and Boulder shootings.
- Conduct a forensic audit into the Colorado Healing Fund's collection and spending of donations.
- Shut down and dissolve the Colorado Healing Fund permanently.
They asked for $1 million in consumer fraud settlement money that was for the fund to be used instead in an endowment for a state-run fund.
Ashtin Gamblin, a survivor of the Club Q mass shooting last November, said she struggled to receive financial assistance from the Colorado Healing Fund for expenses such as a service dog and re-keying her husband's truck after the keys went missing during the shooting. CHF denied the requests, she said, while the Victims First organization ultimately approved them. She and other victims have struggled to get clear guidance from CHF as to what expenses will and will not be covered by the fund, she said.
"Seeing all of the red tape that we had to go through made it 50 times worse. It very much was retraumatizing and re-victimizing all over again, almost on a daily basis," Gamblin said. "I would have to have receipts for everything, and hope that whatever I bought or whatever I spent it on was something that they were going to cover later down the road."
Gamblin also said it took pressure from victims and media organizations to get the entirety of donated funds after the Club Q shooting dispersed to victims, and that victims of the King Soopers and Sol Tribe shootings still have not received the full amounts donated. A financial report posted to the Colorado Healing Fund's website shows that more than $623,000 still remains of the roughly $4.8 million donated to help King Soopers shooting victims.
Denver7 is working to get a comment from the Colorado Healing Fund on the open letter. In the financial report on its website, the CHF said it has retained funds donated to King Soopers shooting victims to "address intermediate and long-term needs as they arise," and that it will work with the Boulder community to "monitor needs and respond in accordance with its mission until all funds have been appropriate dispersed."
Just last week when announcing distribution of funds for family members of Club Q victims, the Colorado Healing Fund said in part, "Our mission is to create a safe and effective way for the public to make monetary donations to help victims of mass tragedy in Colorado."
To learn more about the Colorado Healing Fund click here.