Donations from across America and the rest of the world poured in after the tragic incident in Wisconsin on Nov. 21 when a man, allegedly Darrell Brooks, rammed his red Ford Escape into a festive parade. Six people were killed and some 61 others injured.
“We’re at about $3.5 million in donations, and that is from 16 different countries,” Shelli Marquardt, Waukesha County Community Foundation president told Fox 6 Milwaukee, adding that this figure is before the $1 million match that the Fotsch Family Foundation, a private foundation headquartered in Nashotah, has offered to pay.
Now, a nine-person committee of both public and private leaders, called the United for Waukesha Community Fund Committee, will decide how to distribute the money that has been raised.
The committee’s first priority is helping the families of those who lost their lives in the attack, and organizers plan to provide each family with $25,000 as a preliminary gift, with more to come later. Organizers have already handed a check for $25,000 to one family, as per Fox.
“Families who have lost a loved one,” said Marquardt. “That is our absolute immediate priority.”
Their second priority is helping those who have received hospital treatment as well as additional support for those who need mental health support or grief counseling.
As of Dec. 10, the committee will start accepting applications from the more than 60 people who were injured, other people at the parade at the time of the incident, as well as first responders, medical professionals, and nonprofits who have helped in any way.
“All of that is going to be relevant to what their costs are and making sure we can help them be as financially whole—obviously not emotionally or spiritually—but as financially whole as this fund can make them,” said Marquardt.
The committee has vowed to remain open and transparent during the process of distributing the millions of dollars in funds, and the process includes representation from the Mayor’s office among other officials.
The millions of dollars in raised funds for the victims comes shortly after GoFundMe removed a fundraiser for Brooks, 39, because it violated the GoFundMe Terms of Service.
A GoFundMe was created for Brooks in an effort to raise the money for his bail, and a screenshot of the crowdfunding page was obtained by the Daily Mail. The GoFundMe page was initially posted by someone who identified themselves as James Norton of Waukesha.
A spokesperson confirmed that Norton, who wrote that, “as someone who knows Darrell personally I can tell you that he would NEVER do such a thing and I know he is innocent of what he was charged with,” was also banned from using the site.
“I just feel like I’m being monster—demonized,” Brooks said.
Brooks was initially charged with five counts of intentional homicide and his bail was set at $5 million by Waukesha Court Commissioner Kevin Costello.
The next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 14, 2022.