Waukesha Christmas Parade: Community fund raises $6.2M+

The United for Waukesha Community Fund launched by the Waukesha County Community Foundation and the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County announced on Monday, March 14 that it will provide nearly $6 million of supportive funding to more than 560 individuals impacted by the Waukesha Christmas Parade attack on Nov. 21, 2021

A news release says three nonprofit organizations that are serving impacted individuals were also funded, and a 5% fund contingency is being held for unanticipated long-term issues, such as re-hospitalization of victims.

Officials say the distribution plan for the United for Waukesha Community Fund was unanimously approved by the fund’s committee. It approved the allocation of funds to claimants in the following categories: families of the six people killed, individuals who were physically injured, and individuals who were physically present at the parade including first responders/other medical professionals treating victims of the attack.

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100% of financial gifts from individual donors will be distributed directly to eligible people that submitted claims between December 10, 2021 and February 28, 2022, the release says. Initial disbursements began in December, and all remaining gifts will be sent via check by certified mail on a rolling basis. The fund will continue accepting donations through December 31, 2022. Any remaining funds, including new gifts and the 5% contingency outlined above, will be disbursed to claimants based on criteria outlined in the fund protocol.

The attack on Waukesha's Christmas parade was four months ago, but it's a memory that doesn't fade with time.

The crosses and ornaments people left at Veterans Park in the days following the attack are displayed at the Waukesha County Historical Society and Museum.

 "Truly it is for anyone who still needs that physical space that they are able to express their grief in."

560 people applied for the Waukesha County Community Foundation's six million dollars in collected donations.

 "Our community won’t be defined by the horrible thing that happened.  I feel that our community will be defied by this enormous response of support."

Melissa Baxter is the group’s president. She says families of the six people who died will receive $200,000 each.  

 "After that, people who were hospitalized – those amounts were determined based on length of stay."

The majority - people who participated in the parade or watched it - will receive a total of 1.7 million dollars. Which includes money for first responders.

 "Every individual who donated – those funds are going directly to victims," said Baxter.

A recent FOX6 investigation revealed non-profits are also eligible for funds: "We had one generous foundation donor who wanted to make a portion of their gift available for foundations to apply for," she said.

Wisconsin Hero Outdoors, Catholic Memorial and Family Service – a counseling center - will receive roughly $60,000 total - less than one percent of all money raised.  

 "Our guiding principle is donor intent.  We know the intent of the people who donated – the people who picked up their phone – and we are honoring that," said Baxter.

Disbursement allocations

  • The families of the six people who lost their lives will receive a total of $200,000 each.
  • The 29 claimants who were hospitalized will receive a total of $2,510,000, with individual disbursements depending on the length of hospital stay.
  • The 37 claimants who were injured and treated as outpatients will receive a total of $408,000 with individual disbursements depending on short- or long-term recovery.
  • The 495 claimants who were physically present at the parade will receive a total of $1,712,597 with individual disbursements depending on the claimants’ status as a parade participant, spectator, or first responder.

The release says additionally, a private foundation that made a generous fund donation requested that part of its gift be allocated to nonprofit organizations directly serving the mental health needs of victims. Following a separate grant process, three organizations will receive a total of approximately $59,400 among them, comprising less than 1% of total funds raised. These organizations include Wisconsin Hero Outdoors, Family Service and Catholic Memorial.

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The Waukesha County Community Foundation is administering the United for Waukesha Community Fund for no fee -- and the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County has received no funding nor fees from the United for Waukesha Community Fund, officials say. 

Donations are still accepted through the end of the year.

The funds raised from now until then will be divided up in the same way.

A permanent memorial is expected to be dedicated on the two-year anniversary of the attack.

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