Make us your home page
Instagram

How will Rick Scott's $90,000 Florida Disaster Fund help Pulse nightclub survivors, families?

Within the next few weeks, the $23 million OneOrlando Fund will start sending money directly to more than 50 survivors and families of the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The fund's board has held public hearings and released a protocol detailing how the money will be distributed.

By contrast, Gov. Rick Scott's nearly $90,000 Florida Disaster Fund for Pulse victims has yet to make any announcement about how, when and to whom it will cut checks.

"Activating the Florida Disaster Fund will give individuals across the country the opportunity to assist survivors and the loved ones of the victims," Scott said on June 13.

Erin VanSickle, spokeswoman for the Volunteer Florida Foundation, the nonprofit group managing the fund, said an 11-member board will make a decision on where the money will go at its next meeting on Oct. 11. The meeting will be open to the public.

Deborah Hoover, president of the Ohio-based Burton D. Morgan Foundation, which gave $10,000 to the fund, said she was surprised by the inaction.

"We received a letter of appreciation," she said, but she has not heard anything since and plans to ask for a report on how the dollars are used. "I am hopeful it makes its way to help victims."

The Volunteer Florida Foundation board of directors is led by Tallahassee television and video producer Chucha Barber. Like Volunteer Florida's other board members, she was appointed by Scott and approved by the state Senate.

The Volunteer Florida web page with information on the fund does not provide information about the distribution process, other than to say: "There is no overhead funding; 100% of funds raised will go toward those in need."

VanSickle said funding is available only to organizations "with whom Volunteer Florida has an Memorandum of Understanding." So far, two have submitted applications.

"When the Florida Disaster Fund is activated, this signals … that organizations seeking funding should check for availability," VanSickle wrote in an email. That involves a written request for funding. "Volunteer Florida has notified the emergency management community in Florida via email, social media, and in-person at events since many of these partners are engaged in emergency activation events."

Those partners include Catholic Charities of Florida, the Florida Association of Food Banks and the United Way of Florida.

Under the fund's policies and procedures, partners must be members of the Florida Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and the Florida emergency management community. Pulse-specific organizations created after the attack would therefore be eligible for those funds only if they, among other things, are "equipped to provide emergency-related services," VanSickle said.

"All kinds of agencies and organizations can be emergency management partners if they have the interest and gain the appropriate knowledge to provide critical unmet need services," she wrote. "Volunteer Florida is happy to expand its network of emergency management partners."

It's unclear how the donations will be used to benefit "survivors and the loved ones of the victims," as Scott said they would when he first reached out to donors. VanSickle noted that the Florida Disaster Fund has previously been activated following tornados or tropical storms. The Pulse fund is a unique case.

"It's important that our board has the opportunity to thoroughly review requests for funding and ensure that every dollar is spent transparently and responsibly and will have the greatest impact on those in need," she wrote.

Times senior news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Alli Knothe at aknothe@tampabay.com. Follow @KnotheA.

Florida Disaster Fund donors

Maximus Inc. & Maximus Foundation$20,000
Miami Marlins$15,000*
Arby's Restaurant Group Inc.$14,072
Red Sox Foundation$12,189
Magellan Cares Foundation$10,000
Burton D. Morgan Foundation$10,000
Online and individual donations:$7,531
The Little Theatre of Fall River Inc.$750
Total$89,542

*Not yet fulfilled

Source: Volunteer Florida (www.volunteerflorida.org)

How will Rick Scott's $90,000 Florida Disaster Fund help Pulse nightclub survivors, families? 09/02/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 6, 2016 8:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. SEC says hackers may have profited from stolen info

    Business

    The Securities and Exchange Commission says its corporate filing system was hacked last year and the intruders may have used the nonpublic information they obtained to profit illegally.

    In this file photo, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman nominee Jay Clayton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. The SEC says a cyber breach of a filing system it uses may have provided the basis for some illegal trading in 2016. [AP file photo]
  2. Trigaux: For Class of 2016, college debt loads favor Florida graduates

    Banking

    Florida college graduates saddled with student debt: Take heart. The average debt Class of 2016 Florida grads must bear is less than students in most states.

    University of South Florida undergraduates gather at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa for last fall's commencement ceremony. A new survey finds their average student debt upon graduating was $22,276. Statewide, 2016 Florida grads ranked a relatively unencumbered 45th among states, averaging $24,461 in student debt. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  3. After Hurricane Irma, many ask: How safe are shelters?

    News

    NAPLES — Residents of the Naples Estates mobile home park beamed and cheered when President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott strolled amid piles of shredded aluminum three days after Hurricane Irma to buck up residents and hail the work of emergency responders. But almost nobody had anything good to say about …

    The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area opened its doors to anyone seeking temporary shelter during Hurricane Irma. Evacuees were housed in the Istaba multipurpose building and was quickly at capacity housing over 500 people. [Saturday, September 9, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  4. When elders are in peril, who do you call — 911 or Rick Scott's cell?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Twelve hours after Irma blasted through South Florida, conditions at Larkin Community Hospital in Hollywood were miserable.

    Police surround the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, which had no air conditioning after Hurricane Irma knocked out power, on Sept. 13 in Hollywood. So far, nine deaths have been blamed on the incedent. [John McCall | South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
  5. Report slams Pinellas construction licensing agency and leaders

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board mismanaged its finances, lacked accountability and disregarded its own rules, according to a scathing report released Wednesday by the county's inspector general.

    Rodney Fischer, the executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board, resigned in January.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]