WAUKESHA, Wisc. — The deadline to request funds from the United for Waukesha Community Fund is quickly approaching. Since the attack on the Waukesha Christmas Parade on November 21, 2021, nearly $6 million has been raised for the victims.
The money is set aside to help the families of the six people who were killed and 70 others who were injured when a man drove an SUV down the parade route. But the funding is also set aside for more than the victims.
“(It) includes people who were physically injured, people who were at the parade and perhaps traumatized by what they saw, and also first responders," Waukesha Community Fund president Melissa Baxter says .
So far, 240 claims have been sent to the fund. Baxter is charged with reading all of them before those eligible are moved on to a committee that makes the final decision on disbursements.
"It’s a little overwhelming to be honest with you, the amount of trauma that’s out there that people saw and experienced. It’s just unimaginable what people experienced.” Baxter says.
Eleven people that were injured have not contacted the office for any of the funds.
Local non-profits are also eligible to apply for funding.
"We certainly recognize the amazing work they’re doing with these victims, especially those who suffered mental trauma and have really been struggling” says Baxter.
The inclusion of non-profits has drawn criticism from advocacy group Victims First. The group is particularly troubled by the fact that an employee of the United Way is on the committee that makes decisions on the disbursements. Baxter tells TMJ4 News that the United Way has not requested any funding and is not expected to.
The United for Waukesha Community Fund hopes to have the $5.7 million already collected, paid out by the end of March. The committee has decided to keep the Community Fund open until the end of 2022. Any more funds that are raised will be disbursed at a later date.