We extend our deepest
sympathies to the victims and their families
impacted by the tragic shootings at the Grand Theater on July 23, 2015. The
community’s collective vision is for an educated, prosperous, and safe
community, and an event like this shakes each and every one of us. However, the
strength and resilience of Acadiana is part
of the path to healing; it’s part of our shared identity…Acadiana’s citizens
have always demonstrated a commitment to reach out and extend help to neighbors
in need. UWA has the ability to convene
community partners around a shared goal, including the crisis
that occurred at The Grand Theatre. UWA’s
mission is to bring together people and organizations that have the passion, expertise and resources to address a
community need. To that end, we have provided information
for citizens in need to access counseling and other mental health resources, as
well as ways for the community to provide support.
As done in the
past during times of a crisis, United Way assembled community partners to
identify the highest priority needs, distributed resources and connected those
impacted with needed assistance and dispersed 100% of funds being raised to victims
of The Grand Theatre shooting,
United Way of Acadiana organized several meetings and gathered fundraisers and support agencies to one table to create the Lafayette Strong Collaborative Group. The collaborative group was made up of entities that shared the common goal of providing relief and healing to the victims of the tragedy. The group developed an effective disbursement process to create the most impact for those affected in the incident. 100% of the funds raised went to the victims to meet immediate needs and/or cover the expense of mental health counseling.
United Way of Acadiana worked collaboratively with these partners throughout our local area to produce one of the fastest delivery models to date, of reaching those impacted in a violent crime with donated funds and services. The Lafayette Strong Collaborative group raised over $143,000 for those impacted in the Grand Theatre tragedy.
United Way of Acadiana collected research of similar tragedies to help shape a model that would create an effective and expedited response. After pooling the group’s funds together, a unanimous decision was made to create an oversight committee comprised of representatives of various agencies involved to oversee the delivery of the distribution plan. Local Law Enforcement served as the sole means of contact with the victims.
Funds were dispersed in record time as the first round of payments was made active less than 60 days after the event with the last round reaching victims in less than 12 months of the tragedy. A website was donated by Firefly Digital to illustrate public transparency of the group’s efforts with the web address wearelafayettestrong.com .Ultimately, we at
UWA know that when we come together as a community, we can accomplish so much
more than our individual efforts…that’s what we mean when we say "LIVE
UNITED.” We are committed to doing our part to help as a result of this tragedy
and help the whole community move forward in this time of healing.
For more information, contact Aaron Williams, United Way of Acadiana
community collaborations manager, at 337-706-1192 or firstname.lastname@example.org.